“The single biggest problem about communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
— George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950)
Probably the first thing many lecturers within university and college courses remind their students is, “If you are struggling, tell me early; don’t leave it too late, to the point I cannot help you.”
But it is fear within us that contrives to pretend we have it all together when we haven’t. Many unconscious fears stand behind our inability to communicate. We may make veiled attempts at communicating, yet without clarity people have no idea.
We may tell ourselves, “I’ve done my bit,” when, in fact, we haven’t.
Proper communication takes courage because it requires authenticity. It requires us to put ourselves out in the public domain, which is a risk many of us struggle with.
But when we understand that the art of communication is mastered when we put other people first, we suddenly get it, and are motivated to communicate. The rest is easy.
The ‘Simple’ Art of Communication
We all know that communication is not simple at all, though it is an art—a skill-form—we can develop in. But beyond the skills of thinking and talking and listening, is a whole raft of character tests; these are determinations of our inner values.
We don’t become good communicators unless we resolve to be stewards of social concern. When the whole world has ceased to be about us and has become, as God wills it, the whole world again, then we may communicate, knowing the importance and centrality of communication within the system of life.
When we comprehend that this not-so-simple art of communication is contingent on love and care for others, then we are sufficiently motivated and therefore able to communicate effectively.
Communication is, and always has been, about other people.
From that vantage point, we see others and their needs of us, and we communicate to meet those needs. In having met those needs, the principle of reciprocity kicks in, and others want to reciprocate, most of the time. Hence, commun-ication.
Communication is a bilateral thing, but, it starts with us; the edified.
Communication’s final goal is about trust and respect; respecting others in desiring clarity of communication that proffers trust in ways that deeper relationships are possible.
Communication is easier to get wrong than to do right, but, when we put others and their needs first, it suddenly becomes much easier. Communication is about discerning and meeting other people’s needs, whilst inviting (but not demanding) them to meet our own.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.