Effective communication has always been important, but the more we utilize technology to communicate through emails, texts, and social media, the more face-to-face communication becomes a lost art. Even before 2000 (around the time when digital communications took the world by storm), people seemed to either have “it,” or they didn’t when it came to the savviest of communication skills.
It doesn’t matter if someone is sixteen or sixty, they know when they can’t communicate as well as others. Introverts or “shy” people may fall into this category, but even extroverts can have poor communication skills, which can impact many aspects of their personal and professional lives. Sure, the “I don’t care what others think attitude” may make someone feel strong, but at what cost? Life is easier and it rewards us in spades when we treat others with dignity and respect, no matter how much we’d prefer to do otherwise.
Is Communication a Dying Art?
I love sending communications via text and email – they are more efficient than the alternative. But I can’t help but wonder, “Has this trend affected our ability to communicate in the real world? Is face-to-face communication a dying skill among the younger generations, much like cursive handwriting?" Cursive, a dying art? You heard that right, schools are not teaching cursive like they did twenty years ago. Typing...is a much more practical skill for today’s youth.
All I have to do is say, “Why don’t you call your friend?” to one of my teenage daughters and I can guarantee she’ll respond with, “Mom! Nobody calls each other, that’s dumb.” Say what? Since when was calling our friends unhip? With rapidly evolving technology changing the way we communicate, it’s no wonder why face-to-face communication seems to be virtually extinct among our youth. But we’re a long way off from having no use for basic manners and effective communication skills.
Good in-person and verbal communication skills will always be critical to the human race and no social media platform will ever change that. Until AI and virtual reality replace human interaction, we will continue to rely on the innate rules of human behavior for our emotional well-being, and our relationships inside and outside of work.
Good Manners Touch All Aspect of Life
Manners and excellent communication skills are essential to every aspect of our lives. Want to get that job you’ve been eyeing? If you suck during your job interview, the interviewer is going to think you’re not going to “fit” in the company’s culture. Want to go out on a date with that attractive guy or gal at the gym? You better know how to break the ice and make a good impression, and I’m not talking about how much weight you can bench press.
Want to hold a leadership role at your company and get that coveted promotion with a raise? You better know how to build teams who actually want to be led by you. You better learn to become someone your tribe trusts, naturally admires, and wants to emulate.
Treating People Right
In all aspects of your life, if you don’t know how to treat people right, or if you simply don’t care about their feelings, your attitude will work against you. You’re going to lose respect and things inevitably, are going to be harder. Basic communication skills translate to good manners, but it’s surprising how many people (rich and poor) are bankrupt in this department. Not caring about others leads to a lack of admiration and respect. You may not “see” it with your eyes, but it’s there, even if it’s behind your back.
To gain the respect and admiration of others, go back to the basics. Manners are like the oil that greases interpersonal relations and improves human behavior. If you fail to pay attention to your communication habits, you’ll pay a hefty price. You can walk around with a chip on your shoulder, but it’s going to hurt you more than anyone else.
Do your communication skills leave something to be desired? Here’s how to turn things around forever:
- When someone texts you, respond by the end of the day unless you literally can’t respond because you’re getting surgery or something to that effect. It only takes ten seconds max to shoot someone a text. Step up your game!
- Respond to emails within 24 hours, but strive to respond the same day (even if you don’t like the sender).
- When you see people you know, make eye contact and smile or say, “Hello.”
- When engaging in conversation, listen to the other person and take care not to talk over them or interrupt.
- In conversation, take care to be more “interested” than “interesting.”
- Do NOT go on your cellphone while having a meal with someone. This is extremely rude.
- When you answer your cellphone start with a pleasant, “Hello” and always end with, “Goodbye.” Don’t simply hang up on the person.
- When someone says something to you, acknowledge them to let them know they’re heard. Sometimes a simple “okay” will do.
- If you run into someone at work, church, or in your community that you don’t like, don’t make it obvious. Instead, treat them with respect. A simple smile or “hello” will suffice. You don’t need to treat others like dirt.
- If someone asks you to do something you don’t want to do, don’t ignore them or their text or email. Instead, politely decline in a timely fashion.
- Keep your ego in check please! There is nothing more repulsive than a smart, intelligent, successful, wealthy, or extremely good-looking person who’s walking around with an inflated ego. If your ego has gotten the better of you, shift your focus on others and how you can become more valuable to society. Your measuring stick for value should be how much you serve.
- Everybody has someone they don’t like. If you dislike someone and you have to see them on occasion, don’t make them feel like a second-class citizen. Instead, be polite and respectful and focus on being a good person. Don’t waste your energy on creating hate – life is way too short!
“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” ~Mother Theresa
“Communication is a skill that you can learn. It’s like riding a bicycle or typing. If you’re willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life.” ~Brian Tracy
“I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university.” ~Albert Einstein
“Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.” ~Paul J. Meyer
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~Maya Angelou
Elainna Ciaramella is an independent journalist, business blogger, and ghostwriter for entrepreneurs and business professionals nationwide. She has written extensively on the topics of business, entrepreneurship, law, and medicine. She is well-versed in search engine optimization, content marketing, and social media. You can follow her at on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google +, and Instagram.