Communication plays a critical role in everything we do here on earth. We communicate in so many ways.
When we talk to another person face-to-face, we have our words, tone, body language, and the ability to have a dialogue. Using our ears and eyes, we can observe how our message is received or how we interpret what we see and hear.
We lose tone and body language when we use words in an email or text. Even the most skilled writers don’t consistently deliver a message received and understood as it was intended.
Without dialogue, which is about helping us get feedback and our ability to clarify our message, we are left to the person receiving the message’s interpretation of what was sent to them.
There is another way we communicate, and that is in what we do every day. Our actions each day help people interpret what we are speaking. This is where people can observe how we treat other people than just ourselves.
If you know someone pretty well and you get an unusual message from them that doesn’t match the tone of how you perceive them, this usually makes you want to clarify what you are hearing from them.
Now, if you don’t have a relationship with that person, you may or may not take the time to clarify their message.
I fail every once in a while in my communications with others, and most of the time, it is due to rushing my communications. The place I fail more often than others is in written communications.
This is why I have bought software for my business that comes with email templates. I wish I had software with every possible email. I need a template to help me in those situations I need to communicate quickly. It will help me avoid those pitfalls due to needing more time to craft a message that conveys a statement in an appropriate tone and creates a positive response.
If I know that I will have to write a similar email in the future, I save an email I crafted and save it as a template.
When proofreading our work, we know the meaning we want to convey. Because we expect that meaning to be there, it’s easier to miss when parts (or all) of it are absent. It isn’t about just catching grammar issues.
This is why you can make a mistake even if you try to be careful.
Another part of the problem with communication is that your audience also has a role in this. It isn’t uncommon for the audience to read a tone into something that has more to do with how they interpret than the words themselves.
Your choice of words or a saying can even trigger an audience’s emotions. The way you said something might remind them of someone they despise.
Take the time and proofread your work. Try and read for tone.
When reading someone’s words, if you are concerned with the tone of the email, take the time to get some clarification. If possible, talk to them in person, via zoom call, or via phone call.
The relationship is what communication is built upon. It is also true that how you communicate is how you develop a relationship.
If you think about it, even your best friends and you will often go through a rough patch due to communication breaking down.
The key to being a good communicator is caring for others.