The touchscreen and keyboard have become our connection to the world. Mobile phones, tablets, laptops and smart watches keep us connected with family, friends and business associates. Gone are the days of the hand written thank you note or personal call, replaced by an effortless Facebook post or text message.
How has our inability or unwillingness to communicate orally led to communication breakdowns?
Most communications these days are written using less than 140 characters, or replaced by emojis, likes, and friending. Are we so busy that we no longer focus on how our message is being received?
There are three aspects to communication: what we say (words), how we say it (tone and volume), and how we look when we say it (body language and facial expression). Two out of three are missing in written communication.
Our social abilities are now measured by how many friends one has on Facebook, followers on Twitter and Instagram, and number of LinkedIn connections. In many ways, these tools have brought us closer. Worldwide, we are only a few simple keystrokes away from each other.
But, alas, we have more ways to be misunderstood than ever before! And the core reason for misunderstandings remains eternally the same. We fail to think about things from the other person’s point of view.
As Robert Plant sang prophetically, “communication breakdown, it’s always the same.”
Never has it become so critical to read and reread anything we plan to send to ensure the recipient applies our intended tone. We must use careful wording, font, and often longer sentences to ensure there can be no mistaking our message.
We were all told growing up to think before we speak. If we apply this same principle to our written communication, and think before we post/send, we’ll enjoy more profitable relationships with the people that matter.