I bet you won't read this!

keep-rightIt's not as much a lack of training these days that gives way to communication issues; it's currently a lack of interest! I'd be willing to bet that 95% of the people who see this article (or any other article or blog post, or Facebook post or ...you get the picture) will just scroll past it without giving it a second thought.  I'd be willing to go one step further and say that almost the same amount of people will do so even if the topic is of great interest.  I'd also be willing to bet that at least 75% of people don't take the time to really listen when a friend or family member speaks and that about the same percentage don't pay close attention to others enough to notice when a co worker, friend or neighbor is upset. Nobody takes the time to pay attention these days!  We have become a nation so frantic about trying to make a living and attend to our lives that we don't take the time to really listen or read anymore.  We also don't realize that these short cuts actually take MORE time (confusing communication which has to be ironed out) than it would if we took the time to read it or listen carefully in the first place.  We are a civilization divided into microwave nanoseconds.  Don't think so?

* What is most popular on FB?  Not in depth articles on important matters of life, no--but silly pictures of cats.  Even videos don't get much attention anymore.  Those are three minutes and fifty seven seconds too long to justify taking time away from liking three hundred dog photos on Facebook.

* What happens when someone posts a picture they don't immediately understand?  Do they look at the accompanying text to see what the person posting said?  No, that takes too long!  They ask or they assume and post a response that doesn't fit the post.

* What TV shows are popular?  Not the ones that make you think!  Thinking is now a spectator sport.  The popular shows are the ones that tell you what to think, give silly laughs and the dreaded reality shows that don't bear any resemblance to reality.

* By the way, how many of you noticed that the Keep Right sign has the arrow pointing the wrong way?

No wonder nobody cares enough to learn to communicate effectively.  It doesn't matter.  You can be the most articulate soul on the planet, but if nobody reads what you write or listens to what you say or pays attention because it takes longer than three nanoseconds, your message is either lost or twisted and someone has probably unjustifiably taken offense at what they THINK you said. Blog posts are almost a thing of the past because you actually have to READ. I commend you who have continued on this far.  You are in the minority these days.  Kuddos!  You'll learn stuff.   For quite some time, studies have shown that there has been a significant decline in communication effectiveness.  College professors report an increase in papers with text speak, slang and poor grammar.  Employers have reported a serious lack of communication skill in their new hire candidates and that it’s one of the reasons employees are not promoted. You and I notice it every day when we speak to people, and chat with them on social media.  Sometimes the lack of communication skill is so apparent we can hardly make out what the person is trying to tell us.   However, it’s not as much a lack of training as it is a lack of interest.  The bottom line is that most people today don’t feel communication is a subject that merits any attention.  Why? Undivided attention is overrated.  Multitasking is a valued skill, but what isn’t generally taken into account is the fact that the less you concentrate on something, the less efficient you are at it.  While you may be able to cook dinner, do the laundry and listen to little Johnny’s story, you probably didn’t catch everything he said. Unfortunately, this is exactly why so many struggle in relationships, marriages and friendships these days. Relationships are all about communication and very few seek to master it these days. I teach communication skills and for the last ten years there has been a decline both in the skills demonstrated and the interest in learning and applying them.  If you’ve found yourself on the receiving end of a misunderstanding, you know what I mean.   Need more proof? Folks are busy and they are trying to find short cuts for whatever they do.  I can’t count the number of times I have sent an email to someone and had them reply asking for the very information that was still included in the original email which was attached underneath their reply!  Ever seen one of these? From: Sally45 Sent: Monday, November 10, 2008 9:49 PM To: Mary Subject: Re: Coffee on Friday? Hi Mary, What day and time? Love, Sally >From: Mary > Sent: Monday, November 10, 2008 9:47 PM > To: Sally > Subject: Coffee on Friday? > > Dear Sally, > How about coming over on Friday at 9am for some coffee? > > Love, > Mary Not only did Sally take extra time to send a reply to Mary asking for the very information Mary already gave her, but she has communicated to Mary that her email wasn’t worth her time to read properly in the first place.  Additionally, it communicates to Mary that Sally doesn’t think Mary’s time is as valuable as hers.  She is now requesting that Mary spend more of her time to answer a question she has already answered.  Furthermore, it takes even more of Sally’s time to have to read through another one of Mary’s emails.   It’s time we, as a society, take back the responsibility for what we say and how we say it.  It’s time to learn to speak effectively and in grace.  It’s time to be proactive…because what’s at stake is everyone one of our relationships!  If you don’t, I can promise you there’s a storm coming!  A miscommunication storm that will leave your relationships in its wake. The economy is down and, it appears, we are all just too broke to pay attention.  In today’s microwave society people are always looking for ways to save time…but are we actually spending more time because of miscommunication?  You know that old phrase, “Do it right the first time" and you won’t have to spend time doing it again.  I think our nanoseconds would be better spent if we heeded this time honored time saver! Life’s busy in the 21st Century, but if we all take just a few moments to really read or listen to the other party, we might actually save ourselves a great deal of time and frustration.  Read those emails carefully before you reply.  Actively listen to the speaker before you respond.  You just might answer your own question…before you spend endless nanoseconds to ask it! I could have said more about this subject, but this blog post is already MUCH longer than most people will take time to read as it is.  :D Check out ArtofEloquence.com and take your stand now!  We have studies for PreK through adults and for every communication situation from speech and debate to sharing your faith and social skills!

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