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The Two Keys to Being a Killer Communicator Whenever You Write to Anyone

After several misguided decades of placing excessive value on technical skills, while devaluing the “soft” skill of written communication, our society is finally coming around to a more balanced approach. In fact, the ability to communicate well in writing has probably never been as “marketable” a skill as it is now.

Part of the reason, of course, is that poor communication has a business cost – it creates havoc within organizations, resulting in confusion, lost time and sometimes enormous financial loss (“those specs you sent us for building your nuclear submarine… were they in feet or meters?”).

Speaking of miscommunication, here’s the most classic comedy skit on miscommunication of all time:

 

For YOU, the ability to communicate contributes hugely to your personal resilience because it will multiply your success, draw people to you, help you build community and more.

And communication is not just about the size of your vocabulary or even how well you string ideas together to make a point. It’s knowing INTUITIVELY how to read people, how to communicate with them on the emotional level, when and what kind of humor to use in what situation and much more.

Despite the higher value placed on communications today, we all face some significant challenges with it:

Never has communication on a global scale been so accessible – heck, it’s nearly free – yet as the volume of our communications increases, the quality seems to decline. And this goes far beyond the degeneration of English language usage (where the average person seems incapable of remembering the difference between “its” and “it’s”, for example) or the loss of handwriting as a mechanical skill.

Even more important is the content, what we’re communicating. Two generations ago, friendships were maintained for decades across vast distances through letter-writing. Now, we often seem to barely keep in touch with people in the same city. The difference is not in the medium, but in the content of our writing.

If you really break down our written communications today, the vast majority of the content is not merely dry, it’s a desiccated lakebed of facts. It’s as if we’ve forgotten how to communicate emotion and feeling. And without that essential element of who we are, there is no possibility of creating relationship.

Is it that we’ve become too busy or that our social media have become too public or that we’re so bombarded by facts and information in this factoid-based culture? In truth, there are probably many factors that have degraded our ability to relate to other people through our writing.

Over the last nine months or so I’ve watched as a close relationship in my own life has migrated from email to text. The result? Communication is increasingly dry facts and the relationship “glue” of sharing personal thoughts, feelings and perspectives has almost evaporated, to the point where I’m having to reconsider the value of the relationship itself.

If that sounds distressingly familiar, you’re not alone. It’s a widespread issue in our culture right now – we communicate or share elements of our lives with a larger number of people than ever before, but with less depth than we used to.

Fortunately, it’s precisely in this morass of increasingly meaningless communication that the person with genuine communication skills can shine like the sun. And becoming that person isn’t difficult, nor does it require investing more time than you are now. What it does require is two things:
First, you have to stop making stupid spelling and grammar mistakes that your parent’s generation would never have made past grade four! If you don’t know the difference between “its” and “it’s”, then Google it, for God’s sake, and stop pissing off every educated person you’re in contact with! Let me be blunt: until you’ve got a really good grasp of the written language you’re using, you can be SURE that your communications do NOT say what you think they’re saying.

 

Second, you need the ability to intuit what other people are feeling and what they need most. It requires asking yourself this one question with respect to every email or text you send: “Will what I’ve written make the person receiving it feel better?” And don’t hit the “send” button until the answer is “YES!”
Take these two things to heart and you’ll be amazed at the incredible results your communications start to bring into your life.
~ Dr. Symeon Rodger




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