“Your voice is in the fiber of your communications.” This quote struck a chord in me when I read it. Though, I think I deviated from what the author was intending with my throught process. I began to visualize a rope like you would see used to dock a boat. That rope represented communication. The fibers of the rope began to unwind and each one represented one part of the process of communication. I guess I created a connection with the word fiber. After thinking about it more, it made sense.
Communication is comprised of several parts or concepts like a rope is comprised of individual pieces of thread. Together these parts allow us to communicate with others. Individually the threads are not strong enough to tie something together but when woven together their strength is multiplied. Body language, context, tone, intent, role, and form are individual parts and when combined, make communication possible.
As we communicate we must be aware that we are not only communicating with our selection of words but also with the body language we’re using, the context in which we are speaking, our tone, and our intent. Continually checking to make sure everything is alignment to reach a singular purpose isn’t something that is naturally easy. If it were, there wouldn’t be as much miscommunication as there is in the world. There are even ways, which purposefully contradict some of the concepts listed to communicate another point altogether. Irony and sarcasm are examples of this. Whether intentional or not, miscommunication happens and everyone benefits from improvement.
My favorite definition of communication from Merriam-Webster is as follows:
a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior.
I like how it is described as a process. A process can always be changed and improved. On the flip side you could stagnate or get worse at communication as time passes. I suffer from hearing loss in one ear and am not always able to hear someone. I rely on body language and lip-reading to fill in the blanks when it happens. Someone who loses the ability to speak over time has to change their process of communication, Stephen Hawking is an example of this. He now communicates through a muscle in his cheek, an extraordinary feat
Technology has allowed communication to change at a rapid pace. The example concepts or threads I listed earlier, change or become non-existent in some of these forms. There is no body language in a blog post and no tone in a text message. This places more emphasis on concepts like context. Using sarcasm becomes difficult without adding helper text. For some people the shift in thought process to compensate for this happens without any effort while others struggle.
Next time you become frustrated someone does not understand what you are saying, try taking a moment and think about the various parts of communication and how you can utilize them to get your point across.