In this day and age there are a myriad of ways to communicate. But have we neglected what matters most? Speaking?
The way in which we communicate has grown and diversified so dramatically the last decade. This change doesn’t necessarily create the fact that everybody now understands everybody, and everybody appreciates everybody. In fact, shorter, more abrupt ways to communicate in 140 characters (or less) are causing a lot of people to ‘hide behind their computer screens’ and neglect the basics of communicating. The rise of social media has contributed, and often indirectly promoted, a cagey type of ‘open forum’ where opinions are not shared, but dispelled with increasing amounts of ridicule. Poor Ashley Judd is an example of how this can be taken to the extreme.
More doesn’t necessarily equal better.
Having been an avid user of social media for a number of years being selective about the types of communication channels used, is a filter that must be applied. Jumping on every band wagon will lend towards a level of immersion that leaves you spread too thin. An increasing number of us are part of the HD Generation (that’s Heads Down Generation), which try and occupy every second with some sorts of electronic device. Trying to level up on Candy Crush or reply to every tweet as if your life depended on it, is common place in most towns and cities around the world.
Back to my original question; What’s wrong with speaking?
Is speaking an archaic way of doing things based on the communications journey we’ve just been through? According to Philip Yaffe, formerly of UCLA and The Wall Street Journal, he says that only 55% of all communication comes from the body and 45% from the spoken word. The intent within the message can so easily be lost. Any type of digital communication that has not been meticulously edited before sending can be easily mis-communicated, and often another series of emails will right the wrongs of the unforgiving emails. More often than not a quick call would have done the job, even avoided a complicated situation in the first place. Seth Godin skilfully sums this up by saying “Never let the lizard send email.” (read this book!)
Experience is the doorway to excellence
Having tried and failed (on a number of occasions) to play avoidance when speaking Is concerned, after 10 years I can safely say that it’s good to talk! Putting good old verbal communication back on its mantle where it should be, can only be a recipe for success. Add a little structure and find a way to plan, can only entice the natural communicators that we all have living within!
But, the ‘heads down generation’ may not agree with this, turning to their device for the latest app that will ‘self-destruct’ any messages sent after a few seconds.
In conclusion, much is lost if we sit behind our computer screens and construct sentences in pigeon English through a myriad of media channels, apps and indefinite ways and means.
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