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The real pain is that most of us think we ARE good at it. We think about our intentions, and not what comes across. Intent rather than impact.

But it's the impact that matters.

This is very true. But once you start learning this I think people start to realize others intent and that changes impact. At the end of the day we all kinda suck at communicating with one another and I believe that you should try to see intent too(I've found that this makes my life substantially less stressful as things that used to impact me negatively don't do so as much anymore). I'm not trying to give people an excuse for being a jerk but it helps with impact if you realize that they're not trying to be or that they're just stressed (I've also found that by doing this and being calm generally results in people apologizing after they've destressed).

i think this is called empathy

It is. But these days, when the word "empathy" shows up in discussions, it's usually in the context of understanding someone's difficult position and why they may feel some resentment or jealousy towards you. Here, it's the opposite - it's the empathy needed to not randomly take offense when people say things to you.

Haha yes. But some times it needs to be restated.

There is a good saying on this topic that helped me be more mindful of the phenomena you described: people tend to judge themselves by their intentions, but other people by their actions.

One thing that is hard is that you cannon control the impact of your words. You can influence it. With skill and perceptiveness you can strongly influence it. But you cannot 100% prevent someone from interpreting your words as an attack any more than the driver of a car can 100% guarantee he’ll never fatally collide with anyone.

Good resources for understanding how to control the impact of your words include the book Difficult Conversations and others from the Harvard Negotiation Project.

Agreed. A barometer of how well you're doing can be: how effective are you at persuading people when you need to? If you get in the "everyone around me is an idiot / don't know how computers work" head space you're probably lacking on communication skills. Being right is only half the battle - you often have to be able to convince others you are right.

The distinction between this and forms of communication often considered distasteful in technical circles is that you are - in fact - right (technical skill). It's not "sleazy" marketing if it really is "the world's best pizza!" :-)

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