Communicating Effectively

Communication is coming in short texts, 140 characters and bursts of random thought. Throw in some  auto-correct and what we are trying to say may communicate something else entirely. Sometimes it seems if the whole world has gone mad and forgotten how to spell, how to communicate effectively and clearly. I see it all the time in job applications. The ability to speak, think and communicate effectively and clearly has become a valuable commodity.

Why is this? Is it because of technology that has taught us to become lazy? Is it the education system that has been given the task of leaving no child behind, which has translated into educating for a standardized test rather than real life functionality? Is it because adults don’t have time to put forth the effort (whether by choice or circumstance)?

I find that I dislike talking on the phone because texting is easier. So, instead of making a phone call and talking with even my closest of friends, I text them. The problem with this is that you lose something in translation. Meaning, you lose tone, inflection, and many times sarcasm. So often people can take what you write the wrong way and then you are trying figure out what happened so that you can fix it.

So why is it we have reverted to the impersonal text message instead of speaking on the phone? I don’t know. I have been asking myself that all week and the only thing I can think of is a couple of things: one would be laziness. Yes, I called myself lazy. But, the second which is equally as disturbing, is that I don’t find it important enough to set aside time to actually speak to that person. Texting is an impersonal way of communicating and it allows us to multi-task (which has both benefits and consequences) without devoting our hearts and minds to any one thing in particular. How awful.

then, I started thinking about how people used to communicate. Hundreds of years ago people would communicate by setting aside time to either visit or write a letter. I am reminded of a phrase one of the sisters in Pride and Prejudice said about her older sister, it went something like: “my sisters will have to write me, for they will have nothing better to do with their time.” The youngest daughter said this in response to her mother who asked her newly wed daughter to write.

When was the last time you wrote a letter? Not an email, a letter? When did you sit down and think about what you wanted to say, write it down and then mail it at the post office? I know when the last time was I wrote a letter. It will be a year at Christmas. Unfortunately it went unanswered, but I did it.

Without practicing the art of communication, society is left with a growing inability to fully understand the english language, use the correct form of a word, and in the appropriate context; not to mention spell words correctly and using adverbs and adjectives where appropriate. No wonder people do not like to give speeches, engage in a conversation with a total stranger, or many other types of communicating.

People hide behind text messages, emails, and even blogs. We sit in the comfort of our own little world and say whatever we want without having to deal with the repercussions, good or bad, of what we have said. Our accountability is diminished and it leads to distorted views of reality.

“Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.” Colossians 4:6 NLT

I find this quote to be fitting. If my conversation is to be gracious and attractive, how can I accomplish this when I communicate impersonally and without the focus and intention of my mind and heart? How can I expect to have a real relationship through text messaging? Simply put, you can’t.

In this world of social media we hear buzz words like engagement. What many people forget is that engagement includes and should always (in one way or another) lead to a face-to-face relationship. This is what builds trust and loyalty. This is why people will choose you over a competitor. Relationships is what drives the world forward.

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2 thoughts on “Communicating Effectively

  1. Katy ,great content, and observation. Since i don’t texted i have the benefit of your phone calls, which i love, even when i don’t have much to say.keep going !!!!.

  2. Katy,
    You may remember that in class we talked about Marshall McLuhan’s tetrad. The notion is that new technology has four effects: 1) It creates new possibilities; 2) It makes some things obsolete; 3) It retrieves some things have were made obsolete by other technologies; 4) It creates new problems. McLuhan would love your train of thought. There may be ways to achieve the spirit of Colossians 4:6 in each element of the tetrad. Best wishes.

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