There must be thousands (at least) of blogs, articles, books, reports etc written on the theme of communication. What constitutes good communication, what represents poor communication and the associated benefits and perils respectively – but this is just a few paragraphs, my own thoughts on the subject – my two penneth worth!
Have you heard the old joke – a group of soldiers were asked to pass a message down the line – “Send reinforcements, we’re going to advance” by the time the message reached the end of the line it had become “Send 2 n 4 pence, we’re going to a dance!” Although just for fun, this demonstrates how communication can so easily go very wrong and the ramifications of that (I don’t suppose 2 n 4 pence was much consolation to the troops who found themselves unsupported on their attack manoeuvre).
We live in a high-tech world, where we are interconnected as never before – so many of us own handheld IT devices (aka mobile phones) that allow us to broadcast a message around the globe instantly at a mere touch of a button. Mind blowing when you stop to think of it. The internet has given us all instant communication abilities – social media, blogs, vlogs, email, texts, direct messaging etc and yet, my feeling is that we are now more than ever lacking in the art of good communication.
For starters, all this online activity makes us slaves to the tech – we are living more and more vicariously, glued to a mobile phone screen – when it beeps, we come running. This immediately removes our interaction with both the world around us and each other. How many times have you seen people in the same room, talking to each other via an app on their mobiles, rather than face to face? Or sitting at a restaurant table, both engrossed in their ‘phones and not talking to each other?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating that all this tech is evil – far from it – the internet represents the power of the people – never more need you have to suffer a rundown hotel room, or a tasteless meal or even a poorly functioning TV, for example – easy to come by reviews (so long as you avoid the fake ones that is!) can help you avoid such pitfalls. Its true that tech can be used for so much positive information flow; however, it doesn’t seem to have helped us with our interpersonal skills.
This week, a company providing a service to me (note I am being very generic here) failed to record a request I had given them – it was a very important request, which had serious implications – and this resulted in their sending me a letter, which pushed the panic button. Fortunately, after a lengthy ‘phone conversation, all was resolved; but my anxiety could have so easily been avoided had they managed to record and communicate my request in the first place.
Or how about a delivery company, who fails to inform their drivers about road works in advance? The drivers just end up sat in traffic jams that they could have easily avoided – all because no one thought to tell them – and that is the very basis of good communication – having the thought to tell someone.
It seems we have a human trait to somehow assume that others know the same things that we do and therefore, we don’t bother telling them. In the case of the delivery company, they assumed the drivers all knew about the roadworks, or maybe they assumed that all drivers would have checked a roadworks app to find out about them – but maybe they didn’t have access to the app – or maybe they were running late and didn’t have time to look first? A quick text or instant message would have saved them so much delay and stress.
These are just a couple of examples of poor communication. Sadly, it seems to be a recurring theme that, despite the latest technology, we all seem to fall victim to and it’s a shame, because so much of our lives could be simply improved if our communication was better.
In my opinion, it’s just a case of making a conscious effort – think if someone needs to know the thing you’ve just discovered / heard about / read about / been told about – and if you decide that they do (or at least would benefit from knowing about it) – then tell them!! These days just a quick text would suffice.
On the other hand, don’t go over the top and proceed to bombard them with information overload – they’ll merely get fed up and stop taking any notice of you and unfortunately your important messages will go unheard.
Instead, just keep them updated on relevant and useful information and they will certainly be grateful.
I don’t purport to be an excellent communicator myself – but I do acknowledge that an effort is needed to be a good communicator and I would encourage everyone to give some thought to and hopefully embrace the need to improve their communication skills.
After all, it’s good to talk!