Sunday, May 07, 2006

the lost art of communication

Even as we have more and more ways to communicate with each other, we are losing our ability to communicate well.

People may work in cubicles yards away from yours or in a cubicle farm across campus, you may have shared projects and goals, but lack of communication makes achieving these goals more difficult, and the projects suffer.

People act without consulting each other, leading to resentment. They edit or comment on each other's work via pdf or Word files without dialogue that could lead to improvement. When you do have a meeting, participants have brought their cell phones, which, inevitably, start to buzz or play a Rolling Stones tune just as you are about to make your best point.

Is this any wonder?

We live in isolation. Communication is a one-way street. We passively receive the news from the "media," but seldom from each other. When a neighbor passes away, you often read about it in the paper rather than learning the news first hand. A major catastrophe or triumph occurs in the house next door and you never hear about it.

Communication at work these days often consists of phone calls, which are more personal than the even more popular e-mail but are still no substitute for face-to-face involvement. We are more comfortable with these impersonal forms of communication at work because we no longer learn and appreciate the art of interpersonal communication at home.

Without good communication, we become more and more isolated and less and less productive.

1 comment:

Kimberly said...

Communication is a one-way street. This caught my attention. I have my Master's in Communication and I laugh at the daily miscommunications. Having a sincere interest in com & the enigma of positive relationships. It sounds like your concerns are a generalization of common relationship problems. Sure, co-workers nowadays lack the interpersonal skills. I personally find it rude when someone yaks on the cell and distracts our conversation. The point here, is not the lack of communication. Rather, it is how the expectation of effective communication mixed with the opportunity of good communication. We have the tools (cell, phone, interglobal com) but often people miss your benchmark by simply not measuring up to your definition of good communication in a relationship.