Quick SummaryThe advance in modern technology has given us all more opportunities to communicate more widely, engagingly and effectively. But ironically it also allows us to undermine all this with the typical communication cop-out, particularly when something difficult has to be said to someone we know. I speak of relying on impersonal emails and text and instant messaging or even silence...the coward's communication tools of choice for challenging communications!
What Sort Of Communicator Are You: Charismatic Or Cowardly?!
On the other hand, the Cowardly Communicator will hide behind written words where neither a sense of energy nor emotion can be relayed – either way – and will opt for the mobile phone text message or a distant and/or dismissive email or even the silent treatment.
A UK dating company study of 1,000 single people discovered that six out of ten (60%) of casual daters use text to arrange their first meeting, whereas voice calls were the choice of over two thirds (67%) of people looking for a serious relationship. The survey also found that singles looking for a fling are five times more likely to text their date immediately after a rendezvous: 16% get their thumbs working, compared to just 3% of those on the look-out for real love.
Interestingly, when it comes to ending a relationship the highest proportion of singles prefer to do the deed in person: one third of them (30%) ended an affair face-to-face. 22% resorted to the long-distance silent treatment, with as many as 28% of men (compared with just 16% of women) preferring to simply ignore their latest ex. Phone was the choice of 16% for that difficult conversation, while 15% chickened out with an email and just 14% with a text message. Those latter statistics are still too high!
So if you want to convey something important, from commending an employee or even firing them to declaring undying love for that special person in your life or telling the other once special person in your life that you've fallen in love with another former Eastern Bloc gymnast, then the best way to convey it is in person. Or, if dangling nervously from a window ledge of the bedroom you're no longer welcome in, wishing frantically that you too had once been an Eastern Bloc gymnast, then....almost in person.
Perhaps your contrite, sympathetic and even pleading tones will move them...to let you back in the window you were unceremoniously shoved out of minutes earlier and then back down the normal way. Dangling and wriggling, like garden chimes, from a few storeys up, certainly when you get to the whimpering stage, starts to become undignified. Your charisma will evaporate and, not only that, but a crowd is also likely to have started to gather below you, looking up and wondering which government ministerial portfolio you're neglecting while trying instead to sort out your messy personal life.
It's one of the more noticeable modern ironies, but the more opportunities technology, in particular, has given us to become more personal, too often people opt for being more impersonal in the way they communicate. You may think that sending a text message to dump a partner makes it easier for you – because it will certainly make it worse for the person on the receiving end of your "I need spce and 2b on my own. Its nt u, its me" (typical of modern texting grammar and spelling) – but it won't be.
You're actually denying not just them, but you too, the chance to part company with any dignity. Such behaviour will reinforce any uncertainty you might have had about you're being a capable communicator. It will also, for what it's worth, compound the other person's similarly held view that you are indeed a Cowardly Communicator...and their friends, family, colleagues and even random people they just have to tell as well. This is not good for your public or self image.
Now, if you had told them or, in a different scenario, an employee that you had "to let you go" (i.e. you're fired/dumped/sacked/got rid of...finally) – if they're one and same person then communication is the least of your worries...ahem...Minister – and you did this face to face, then it would show you had both courage and decency and, vitally, were thinking of them as well as you in the whole process – something that people often forget. They may not like what you've told them face-to-face, but at least, if you've communicated it well, you can hold your head higher, as can they, than if you used just the written rather than the spoken word or even no words. In short, if you acted like a Charismatic Communicator and not a Cowardly Communicator.
By the way, if this article really touches a raw nerve and you want to take it up with me, then I will happily talk to you in person...or by phone...particularly if ministerial duties make it hard for you to get away from the office...or even another window ledge!
Your thoughts matter to others - more than you can imagine.
More Articles published by Sean
1 Free | Ad-Free | Full-Text Business Papers
Communication99% of people are missing out on making a better impression, improving their career prospects and even getting people to find them more attractive because ... 50 | 2.68 K | 4 min
More 'Communication' Articles
4 more Articles that may interest you, too...
By Sean B.
99% of people are missing out on making a better impression, improving their career prospects and even getting people to find them more attractive because of one simple communication flaw that has been programmed into us, often unwittingly. Read on...2.68 K | 50
By Carole S.
Question: I run a small business and I'm at my wits' end trying to hold back the constant tide of incoming emails. What can I do?2.9 K | 50