Why Communication Is Everything
How words alone impact every aspect of your life.
There aren't very many people who understand the power of words. In the short amount of time that I've been gifted with the opportunity to live and breathe on this planet, I've worked in various industries and lived in many shoes: From the food/service industry to transportation, the military, sales, even door-knocking. I've done enough to confidently say I got quite a bit under my belt of hands-on experience. However, all these years, I failed to notice the one thing that all of these professions had in common: Communication. I've never truly realized the effect that one simple word can have on someone's life. You can alter moods, completely change situations, you can earn that business contract, you can get that person's phone number, etc. When dealing with other human beings, you can do almost anything you wish to do if you are an effective communicator. To get to the point, many people don't see this. People are quick to assign the blame on other things that are outside their control for the negative results they encounter. However, we can't ignore the impact our words can have at the beginning of any sort of connection we attempt to make. Take a 911 operator for example. Aside from location services and actual units on the move, they rely primarily on their words to walk someone through a difficult scenario. I know this for a fact because I have been a 911 operator and still am from time to time. I work as a professional interpreter and I deal with many walks of life. There are some instances where anything and everything I say can make a life or death differences. Not only do I have to be very careful with the things I say, I have to be very careful how I say them. Your words have this same effect. I can now recognize that life is all about building relationships, and relationships are built on trust and communication. Even if someone is having a hard time trusting you, the way you carry yourself with the use of your words can determine whether you destroy that bridge or make it all the way across. I realized this when 99% of the doors that I knocked on were shut in my face because of something I said; not something I did. Can you imagine a 6ft, bearded, tattooed man knocking on your door trying to sell you windows at 11 am in the morning? Don't you think he would have to work extra hard to earn that respect from 100ft away? That was me at one point. That's what led me to be work on my words, despite my appearance. So what makes an effective communicator? Is it the tone of voice? The amount of words they know? Does it have anything to do with body language? Facial expressions? Is it even the things he or she doesn't notice, like the amount of times he or she blinks? The 'uhs' and 'umms' in between sentences? The answer is yes. Everything from the way you sound to the way your eyes are angled has a big effect on the way your message is interpreted. This should be common sense, right? It isn't. Different people have different standards when it comes to the way they communicate. While some opt for a direct and blunt approach, someone else may take that as a lack of tact. Some people prefer being reserved and minimal with their statements. Personally, I am one of those. In my short time here, I've met people from all over the world and mannerisms along with tones of voice change drastically from one continent to another. There are many things that fall just outside our reach when it comes to how people take the words we say. Nonetheless, if there is one thing we can control is how we say what we want to say.
It's obvious that we don't want to scream or use profanity if we want to be taken seriously. But how about the way we identify a problem? Would it be better to say: "I made a mistake" or is it better to say "I'm going to fix this mistake"? What do both of these statements communicate? One communicates negativity while the other promotes a positive state of mind. Is it "sorry for the wait" or "thank you for your patience"? Think about it. Everything you say initially has a huge effect on what you do afterwards. Of course, how you follow through is very important, but think about the initial effect. A simple set of words. The blink of an eye. The way your hands are facing. The way you breathe after your words come out. Pay close attention. They say actions speak louder than words. But no one in their right mind acts without communicating something first. It may not be with words, it may be body language, it may be a movement of the arms, a minor reaction to a specific change in the environment etc. Should we always be on the lookout for these things? Not necessarily. It is, however, up to us to do our due diligence when it comes to communicating our messages effectively without policing every single little thing that other people do. Most importantly, it is our duty to understand how the things we say and project affect the people and situations around us. We must be transparent with our words and clear in our intent.
Although life is essentially on a time limit, think about a second. A second is meaningless to most. But in a single second, you can say something to ignite a spark in an otherwise flameless person. You can talk yourself out of a speeding ticket, or into a discount at the store; even romance your way into someone's heart. Your words hold infinite power. Choose them wisely. And on top of that, choose your delivery wisely. If the USPS threw a flower package at my face, I wouldn't care about the flowers so much. And I don't even like flowers. It isn't about persuasion.
It isn't about manipulation.
It's about being a person who is easily understood and being a person who can easily understand others. Communication is everything. From relationships to the next sales deal, to even small talk at the park. What you speak and how you speak it makes all the difference. Be the bridge over the valley of misunderstandings - and I promise you that life will be much easier for you.