Hands up if you have received any form of communication from a friend, colleague, intimate partner, or boss in the last few weeks that made you feel like you had been sucker punched in the stomach?
One of those messages, where you feel this sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach.
It might come up as a feeling of fear, disappointment, rage, indignation, frustration, disbelief, or seething anger. Ouch!
Has that happened to you recently or in the near past?
If so, then read on. If not, then read on (as it will ;-))
The downside of progress
Of all the communication you do in a day, how much of it is face-to-face?
Versus how much of it is via email, SMS, Whatsapp, Facebook, Messenger, Twitter, and a bucket load of other methods, that I (as a guy in my 40’s without children) have no clue they even exist.
Can you see where I am heading with this?
Communication 101 – Just A reminder
I have talked about this before, so for some of you this is not new news. But for most of us it is forgotten news. And I felt the need to bring it up again after seeing the pain and frustration occurring around me as a result of this forgotten knowledge.
There used to be a research ‘fact’ quoted that said communication is 55% body language, 38% tone, and 7% the actual words used, based on two experiments done in 1967. And I have been guilty of regurgitating them as a fact, when they are more a guideline and applicable more in some situations as opposed to others.
Regardless of the percentages or the interpretation of the research findings, I think we can all agree that when you receive communication that comes with no body language, facial expression, micro facial expressions, tone, pitch, or pace, a big piece of the FULL picture is missing. I know you get this.
It’s not rocket science
I am going to keep this short, because I know you are an intelligent individual.
We experience a lot of pain and stress in our modern lives, as a result of POOR communication between ourselves and others. Due to the modern communication methods we use, the messages we write and the things we are trying to communicate, are often taken out of context. Especially when we start abbreviating words, using incomplete sentences, using poor (or non existent) punctuation, and don’t provide the full context for the communicative point we are trying to make.
How often have you stewed – for days – over a message you received from someone, and when you finally found the courage to confront them about it they replied. “Oh no. That is not what I meant. I meant this…” Which turns out to be 180 degrees different from your interpretation of the message.
My suggestion and request for you
For the important messages you want to communicate (with the most important people in your life), please do it face-to-face, wherever possible. It will save you time, energy and emotional drainage in the long run. This way your message is likely to be a lot clearer, and received in the right way.
The next best method of communication is the good old fashioned telephone (or the equivalent modern adaption). There is an enormous amount of difference in understanding a message delivered via email (even a very well written one) and hearing someone’s voice as they communicate something. The chances of miscommunication are greatly reduced.
Then it is email (well written and with the appropriate amount of context to enable full understanding), followed by the VERY OFTEN & MISUNDERSTOOD forms of abbreviated messaging platforms (SMS, Whatsapp, Twitter, Messenger, etc.). The messaging stuff is only useful for very simple and distinct instructions or statements. And that ‘predictive text’ is a double edged weapon. Faster – yes. Greater chance of sounding like a complete idiot – absolutely. 😉
I am willing to sound ‘old’ here for your benefit 😉
Most people are crap at communicating today.
Not because they don’t know how to, but because they get lazy, complacent, or are trying to rush too much.
Sending off that quick message or email might work in a lot of cases, but it also might create more grief, disharmony, confusion, fractured relationships and wrong actions taken by the receiving party. Maybe you have heard of the saying: ‘haste makes waste’. 😉
Be clear. Be concise. Be articulate. Use spell-check. 😉
See someone in person or talk with them on a phone.
And let’s make the world a less hectic, more harmonious and happier place. 😉
I am chuckling to myself as I wrote that last line. You know that I just want the best for you.
And thus endeth the reminder. Happy communicating. 😉