The art of communication seems more like finger painting than Picasso in the 21st century. Have we lost the use of our polite genes in this technological age? We have a zillion ways to communicate and yet so much of it is just noise that I wonder whether the art of communication will burn on the pyre of technical advancement.
Don’t leave me hanging…
One of my all-time bug bears is when somebody does not bother replying. To me this is based on and should be surrounded by the concept of common decency. When I contact somebody I don’t expect them to get back to me in 5 minutes however I do expect them to acknowledge my call/email and to respond in a timely fashion.
Too often I have emailed to receive absolutely no reply. I may have given them the information they required but they seem to think they do not have to either acknowledge my communication or take the process to the next stage that I may be relying on them to complete.
I am not a mind reader so I don’t know what is going on at their end. If they are busy a quick ‘thanks I should be able to get back to you by…’ would suffice. Conversely they have no idea what I am doing or that they may be holding me up by not responding. I often ask them to respond by a date which is normally calculated to be in time for other processes I am instigating. When they don’t they cause me delays, frustration and irritation. I also have to spend unnecessary extra time in chasing them up.
Not replying so the other party knows what is going on is just plain rude and shows a lack of consideration for anyone else in my book!
Are you just too busy to communicate?
Communication is a two-way process whereby some kind of resolution is arrived at. Information is just aimed AT people not with them and yet many mistake the two. So, requests go unanswered because they are not seen as requests for dialogue but simply information being passed on. Someone who understands the art of communication recognises that questions arise when information is sent and they need answering.
The arrogance of non-acknowledgement is the implication that somehow your time is more valuable than that of the person asking the question. If, belatedly you do answer and then plead a busy schedule, do not expect sympathy. The 21st century is a busy place; we are ALL busy. Not replying within a reasonable timeframe indicates poor organisation not busyness.
Too often requests sent are skimmed by the receiver and as is human nature, we select what we need from the communique. The art of communication is far more than a quick skim; it relies upon identification of nuances and the framing of appropriate responses. This is even more crucial with face to face communication when body language and tone of voice come into play. The mouth may be saying one thing, the eyes and body another. People versed in the art of communication will read these other signals and respond- they certainly won’t leave the other person hanging on for a reply.
Communication is conversation
Perhaps it is because we have reduced so much communication to online, text, social media that we have lost the art of communicating properly with one another. Would you simply not reply to a person asking you a question standing in front of you? No, I doubt it, unless you really had lost your social manners. Yet, we will leave emails unanswered and not return phone calls, why? Because we can? It may be that we have reduced the art of communication to short cyber phrases with the assumption that we do not have to follow normal polite rules of conversation. To cut through the noise of online information flying back and forth we need to consider what and why we are communicating. The art of communication is a landscape painting full of both detail and broad brush strokes and is an art we should continue to cultivate. There is really no excuse for not acknowledging that someone has communicated with you, be it a short note to say thanks I will respond, it is really just decent and polite to do so.