3 (Busted) Myths About Communication

Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

The Unified Communications (UC) market is chock full of media meant to promote the use of technology for communication and collaboration. Overall, that’s a good thing. But the nature of the materials is often abstract, trading the human element for the tech jargon.

In reality, technology only assists the transmission of information, which can actually detrimental to communications in the absence of basic skills, such as friendliness, feedback, or eye contact (in the case of video calling). Below, we bust three myths about “good communication” that get tossed around in marketing materials, including counter-marketing ones.

Being talkative makes you likable

No it doesn’t. It only helps when you apply for a Sales position. In reality, very few people like to be around someone who talks a lot. I’ll give you an example. We’ve all met that person who seems to know a bit about everything, who doesn’t miss a chance to correct you with a brief science lesson, or share a story more amazing than yours. These things only work only once or twice and it becomes exhausting to be around someone who always seems to know more, who tops your achievements with theirs, etc. Being talkative helps when the situation calls for it. It needs to be treated as a skill, not a habit. To build this skill, practice using a lesser-marketed aspect: the act of listening.

Verbal beats non-verbal

Who said? Just because we use verbal communication more commonly and consciously, that doesn’t mean it’s more important than body language. Think about it. You can listen to your friend tell you she’s sad, or you can see her cry. Which of the two scenarios conveys the clearest message in the fastest way possible? Needless to say, the latter. They don’t say a picture is worth more than a thousand words for nothing.

At the same time, verbal communication can’t replace non-verbal communication either. The examples here are practically infinite, from books and music to descriptions of processes and events. Both forms of communication are equally important and they complement one another. That’s why a firm handshake goes well with a soft “Hi.”

Technology dehumanizes communication

As noted earlier, technology assists communication only when the participants do their bit. A smile carries over the phone just like it does in a video conference. Sound conveys differently when your mouth takes on a different shape, and people tend to pick up on that subconsciously. Then there’s what you actually have to say during a discussion. Long pauses infer uncertainty, while interruptions annoy. These are not things that technology can solve in any way. By contrast, being a skilled communicator over the phone makes you even better at it in real life. In fact, communication is a key trait for being a good leader. Master it well, and you’ve got one less requirement to worry about.

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