The Art of Communication

A lot of people have a backwards idea of how communication works.  The average persons usually think of communication as an effective articulation of their thoughts – saying things clearly enough that other people will understand and agree with them.  What they don’t realize is that true communication requires 90% listening.  And not just listening to respond, but listening to understand.

In our high speed, tech-driven, digitized world, we are bombarded with information.  News programs, blogs, vlogs, YouTube videos, and insta – everything pump messages into our brains under the label of communication.  We have been conditioned to view communication as an onslaught of textual and auditory verbiage.  But today’s practices are missing the most crucial component of effective communication.

You know who the true communication experts are?  The old-fashioned grandmothers who sat in rocking chairs and listened, without interrupting, to kids talk about their school day.  The mothers who soothed a sobbing child by saying, “Tell me about it.”  The fathers who held fishing poles and listened to sons pour out their hearts over a hopeless crush.  The friends who patiently listened through rants against school dress codes.  These are the people who understand that real communication hinges upon a meeting of hearts.  You demonstrate your care for me by listening, and I’ll listen to you in turn.

try listening first

I’d venture to bet that those who complain about a communication breakdown between generations have never spent time actively listening to people who lived through other times.  That goes for people on both sides.  Some older folks want to crush younger people with words, while some of today’s youth try to beat up on their elders with contemporary jargon.  It would benefit everyone if both groups would lay aside their verbal swords and settle down to listen to each other.  That’s the key to opening the gates to real, heart-felt, effective understanding.  So to those who feel that they’re not being heard, here’s a thought – try listening first, in order to gain an audience for your turn at speaking.  Let’s bring communication back to it’s the most basic level.