The Art of Miscommunication

We humans love to take shortcuts in ALL areas of life. And, while we are “good” at it, there can be unanticipated outcomes.

An area that can be MOST problematic is in communicating with others.

It is difficult enough to effectively communicate with our colleagues at work, a fellow church-goer or significant other, when we are on the phone, or even face-to-face. When communicating in these ways we at least have the benefit of:

  • Hearing the words that were spoken (in complete sentences)
  • Gauging the tone of voice (are they emotional, confrontational, excited?)
  • And, when face-to-face, we have the opportunity to monitor body language (do the really mean what they are saying?)
Email and text offer real-time ways to attempt communicating with people who are important to us, who may or may not be immediately available. There are many advantages to using these tools for “efficiently and effectively” communicating with others, and I would fight tooth and nail if you tried to take them away from me. That said, there is a time and place for these. And, times when it is better to pick up the phone or get together face-to-face to talk things out.

Too frequently (and recently, inspiring this post), I have witnessed people hosing-up relationships and creating TOTALLY UNNECESSARY DRAMA due to their misuse of text and/or email.

The key issue: Miscommunication. The reasons:

  • Most of us don’t write good :-). As such, we fail to fully express what we are intending to say, via the written word. Our written communications are not clear and/or we don’t use complete sentences. With the “art of text” many of the words are shortcuts (abbreviations) themselves. Finally, we don’t take the time to proofread: with auto-shortcuts and spell checkers/fixers built into our smart phones words are often changed without our realizing it. Oops, what did I just call my Pastor?
  • We don’t have the advantage of the other communication queues. For example, we don’t experience the other person’s tone of voice and body language, or have the ability to express our own to the person we are trying to communicate with.
Sure, email and text can be VERY effective when properly used. However, if you are in, or about to get into a serious conversation, or have inadvertently created an emotionally charged situation PICK UP THE PHONE AND/OR REQUEST A MEET UP – IMMEDIATELY.

I’ve seen relationships (even jobs) go straight down the toilet when individuals failed to do so. Did you just hear that flush!

If you enjoy the resulting drama (I realize that some do) from attempting to communicate with text and email when in an emotionally charged situation – keep it up.

I’d encourage the rest of us to go “old school” and REALLY express what we are trying to say (over the phone or in person). It makes life so much easier (hmmm, maybe that’s the shortcut!).

2 thoughts on “The Art of Miscommunication

  1. […] a prior post I shared thoughts on the “Art of Miscommunication” which primarily focused on the misuse of text and […]

  2. […] a prior post I shared thoughts on the “Art of Miscommunication“ focusing on the misuse of text and email, and followed up with the first, of two posts, on […]

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