FRIEND OR FOE TO EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION

Does our obsession with Social Media messaging mean the end of good writing? Such a great question from Emphasis that I used it to kick start this article. 

Communication is key in life. Not only within our personal relationships, but definitely within a business environment. It is safe to say that the way we communicate with each other has changed drastically over the years. Long, very long gone are the sending a pigeon and following short on its footsteps we can even count writing a letter as something that is beginning to disappear. 

Nowadays, we live in an (mostly) electronic world. Apart from our personal lives being organised via an electronic device, a very big part of our work are conducted electronically via a keyboard. It is this last mentioned task that, in my opinion, is becoming a talking point to take notice of.

TALK THE TALK

So many of people around the world go about their every day duties with an electronic device in their hands - or pockets/bags at least. It is therefore much easier to get or keep in touch with others than ages ago. More so, it can be done almost instantly, as you all know by now.  “What is the issue?” you may ask. Well, it is not that we can respond easily, it is how we respond that is my focus point.

Being regularly on social media platforms it has become obvious to me that many individuals tap or type away without taking much care of how they write. What matters to them is the fact that they do communicate and not how they do it. Time and time again one will stumble across social media posts that harbours incorrect spelling or incorrect grammatical usage. 

SPEAK THE LANGUAGE

Digging deep into some research, it has become clear that there are many educating institutions that have already talked of late about the writing element while we are speaking to each other. Teachers and Educators seem to address this issue which means they are questioning the way we are moving forward on an educational level. Amen to that!

At this point, let’s look at some of the outcomes from a study of 800+ teachers released by Dictionary.com:

  • 32% notices students struggle with grammar

  • 64% focusses more on skills like meaning and comprehension 

  • 73% find that social media and texting negatively affects students' grammar and spelling skills

  • 75% are troubled by students using popular slang or text speak in their schoolwork

  • 88% are concerned of students’ improper use of basic words and phrases 

As a strong believer in dotting my i’s and crossing my t’s, it has been more than frustrating on many occasions to see online posts not adhering to the correct usage of words - whether that is in sentences or on-word responses. Along with this kind of behaviour, one also has to put up with grammatical errors. There is an age-old saying: read between the lines, however, struggling to figure out what someone is telling you via the lines is (personally) a waste of time - in particular within the world of social media. After all, social media communication is suppose to be in the KISS form (Keep It Short & Simple), right? 

TOO MUCH TO ASK

Not only is it easy to draw a different conclusion to what the writer intended, it also can easily give the reader the wrong impression of the personality on the other end of the phone. This observation can quickly be pushed aside by saying that we are friends so he/she knows what I mean. Rightly so, but what about those who do read your work and is not at all a friend in real life? 

Furthermore, when it comes to those who are shouting from the rooftops about their milestones, their achievements and mostly (even if it’s indirectly) about what great influencers they are, is it really such an enormous task to make sure your content is grammatically correct when published?

Take for instance an Educator (i.e. a person who provides instruction or education; a teacher - via dictionary.com)... surely this person has a responsibility (at least) towards his/her students. Around 50% of teachers admit they reach out to social media to have a better understanding of their students’ culture.  Has it ever occurred to you as a tutor, that the reverse can happen? If your students take on board your irked grammar behaviour, are you really succeeding as an upstanding pilar of society?

At the end of the day, my question is: as a Leader, how much do you respect the language you are using to communicate with others?

THE FUTURE IS OUT THERE

We all know that once it is published, it’s basically out there forever. We can delete here, there and anywhere we can find, but somehow somewhere someone will find our original post. 

We all have a native tongue. Personally, this language I communicate in 100% of my everyday is not the one I was born with. And there are millions of us around the world in a similar situation. However, living in a society that is becoming more and more global it has become the norm to talk to each other in a universal language. Nothing wrong with that at all, but do we honestly have to walk around showing little respect for the language that is bringing us all together? 

What if the English language is the glue that keeps the world go round? The manner in which the English language is being used over the last few decades, is a true indication of how long it is been here and most probably how long it is going to be around for. 

Far is it for me to be such a stern critic, but if us humans, and in particular those who count themselves as upstanding citizens, cannot adhere to a simple task of delivering their words in mint condition, then where is this all going to end.

CONCLUSION

None of us are perfect. That is a common fact. We are all human and we make mistakes. That said, I personally don’t believe we can use that as an excuse to set a bad example. My point is that it is so easy nowadays to distribute content electronically. All we need to do is take good care of how we put it out there for all to see and read.

The main issue with not taking care of how we communicate with words is about to whom we aim our knowledge / points of view / insights etc. towards. It is quite possible for a big majority of your readers to be of a younger age than yourself. This is great, because we would like to advise and help others by sharing our wisdom with them - especially if one is in an environment of mentoring or coaching and teaching. Not much give more satisfaction than assisting others with reaching their potential

If we feel so strongly about how much value we want to bring to others’ lives, then why not feel strongly about the manner in which way we will give value to them. For those who will end up in a professional working environment one day, it is definitely a sure thing that they will not get away with using inappropriate language when engaging with fellow colleagues and/or clients. No company will put up with the use of slang or abbreviations in emails, incorrect usage of grammar in presentations and definitely not if you have a bad telephone manner. 

Those of us out here that wants to share with the world what we’ve learned so far in life, has a responsibility to do it correctly. After all, a Leader should be someone who Knows the Way, Goes the Way and Shows the Way. 

As always, please feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you have any questions and/or can relate to this post. 

You can reach me here, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram

And most of all… Thank You for reading. 

BROADENING YOUR SKILLS

How do you feel about gaining new information? Is it an exciting prospect? The ability to extend your knowledge of a subject can be daunting, however if you approach it with the right mindset you can walk away feeling very satisfied. 

For me the words of Vincent van Gogh sums it up beautifully:

Learning, or educating myself, has always given me a great sense of achievement. 

THE URGE TO KNOW

When the decision was made to startup on my own, there were quite a few elements that I knew too little about. One way to obtain that information was to sign up to a course or three and let others be a guide. Nothing wrong with that. However, to seek out the information on your own accord somehow always is so much more fulfilling. Therefore I tackled the proverbial bull by the horns and educated myself in the areas I lacked knowledge in. 

THE LEARNING CURVE

With the worldwide web at our finger tips nowadays it is much easier than years ago to get hold of answers to all our questions. It takes some research, but persevere and one will find what one is looking for. What could, or most likely will happen, is that you will find bits here, there and everywhere. The fun part (to put it mildly) is to then put it together like a puzzle. First, one finds the pieces with a straight edge and/or the corner pieces and before you know it the border (or outline) is all in place. To follow is to fill in the middle section and voila! your picture is complete. All pieces slotted in and you’re sitting back looking at a complete visual. In other words, you have conquered the assignment of learning how to perform a certain task within your business.

THE IMPLEMENTATION

Once the know how is firmly in your head, it is time to put your new found knowledge into action. Best bit of advice at this stage is to get going immediately since the information is still very fresh. Practice, practice and then some more practice. Repetition is known to cement actions within us. Once you leave the new facts and skills at the door the inevitable is sure to happen - when you return to put it all to work, most will be a haze and you will need to start again to remind yourself.  

THE CONCLUSION

To study or learn on your own takes a lot of effort and determination. You need to be proactive and resilient at all times. For me it works. Currently there is a new venture on the cards and instead of signing up to expensive courses how to achieve this I am taking matters in my own hands. Yes, I do attend webinars, seminars and talks to get some guidance, but at the end of the day it’s up to me. Some will call it the hard way. Others won’t understand why the narrow, steep road is more attractive. 

Each to their own I say. It is not a matter of making it unnecessarily difficult for oneself, it is much more about achieving something where there was originally no knowledge of in my head. As a strong believer in one can do whatever you put your mind to, it’s obvious this is the preferred route for me. That moment you reach the end of the rainbow and find your pot of gold is priceless. To sit back and look at the finished task you did with the complete new set of tools in your head, is beyond satisfying. Once you experienced that feeling, I bet you will want it again and again. Believe me the feeling is that wonderful. 

If you felt some affinity towards this topic please comment and share your thoughts. If you’re in need of mentoring about educating yourself get in touch and lets talk.