Can You Hear Me Now?
Doesn’t it seem that the majority of people don’t read entire emails anymore? Some people “skim” them and probably don’t remember the first sentence. When it come to listening, we as a whole, the human race, don’t listen, don’t truly observe, and miss most if not all of the details that can help the understanding of the person you are speaking with and explain the world around you. Remember when you would actually meet someone in-person, now in-person is the least favorable option for meeting or talking. Speaking on the telephone is almost obsolete as well and it’s being replaced with emailing, texting, and instant messaging. Even though the new communication is in black and white or on an LED screen, the words typed or voiced in to text are constantly being misread, misconstrued, taken out of context, overlooked, or completely omitted. Because people are using the written word more than the spoken word and in-person meetings are almost obsolete, the message is being lost and in its place is anger, frustration, and resentment.
Communication is an intricate system based on hearing, listening, observing, and understanding. If you are trying to communicate an idea to another person and they aren’t listening, you have a problem and must rethink why you are trying to talk/relate to them in the first place.
Hearing is the basis for communication but hearing alone doesn’t make clear an idea being expressed. When you hear me, I am in earshot of you and you hear that I am speaking. When you hear, you may realize that I am speaking English or another language, and you might catch my attitude if I’m extremely one way or another. Hearing and listening are two very different things. For example: You are seated at a table, everyone except you is speaking all at the same time, and they are speaking in a language that is foreign to you. You can hear them speak, you can hear them all talking over each other, and you realize it’s not the language you speak…that’s hearing. When you are listening, you are not thinking about something else, you aren’t on your phone, you aren’t emailing, you aren’t texting, and you are engaging in the conversation. I understand that some of us have the golden ability to listen and multi-task but doing so doesn’t demonstrate good etiquette or respect. Just because you can text and listen doesn’t mean everyone else can, and if you want others to listen to you, and get what you are saying, then you should lead by example. Even the most skilled person can miss context and some content of a conversation when engrossed in an email, thought, updating their Facebook page, or placing a new picture on Instagram.
Observing a person’s mannerisms, attitude, and communication strategies as well as consciously observing what a person is trying to convey is crucial to understanding and identifying what is being said. When you are observing, you can sense the feeling(s) behind the words being said to you. You can accurately identify truths and non-truths, and you can decide what you think and feel about what is being conveyed to you. By observing and listening you rid yourself of any confusion and you can make a decision if need be without wavering or wondering if you have made the right one. By consciously observing, you can begin to understand where this person is metaphorically coming from, their temperament, the way they analyze life, and you will begin to know what they are going to say before they say it. The conscious observer is always a step ahead with deeper knowledge of all whom he/she comes into contact.
Understanding is something that facilitates more cohesive conversations and less room for misunderstandings. There are two ways to understand, the first is to have experienced what the other person is speaking of or something very similar. The second way to understand is through the use of empathy. Empathy is used to understand how another person is feeling by putting one’s self in their shoes. When a person is empathetic, they are overlooking the fact that they haven’t experienced the actual experience but they can understand the other person’s feelings, actions, and thoughts. Also, in these situations, a person can take a situation that is somewhat similar and realize how they feel about that and then extrapolate that to the subject matter. For example: If a friend tells you they haven’t spoken to their father in 5 years, you may have a wonderful relationship with your dad, so then, if you are trying to understand, you must go into other areas of your life. You realize that your aunt/uncle hasn’t spoken to you in a few years; you take that emotion and feeling and multiply it by a thousand, because it’s this person’s father not uncle who didn’t raise you. Understanding another human being is pinnacle for a life of love, support, and respect. When you are understood, you feel happy, healthy, and free to be your self!
If you are using H, L, O, and U on a daily basis (hearing, listening, observing, and understanding) you are experiencing a deeper life than most. If you are doing all four and others aren’t listening or understanding your emails and texts, then you have to make your message understandable. Using these techniques, do you know how the person you are trying to tell or explain something to understands and gets something?
With the power of observation and listening you should know what mode of communication each specific person relates best with. Some people only “get it” when you are in person, face to face. If that is the case, you must get in touch with that person and schedule a time to meet immediately. With regards to those types of people, and you know which people in your life fall into this specific category, get on the phone or text and get a meeting place and time ASAP. If you’ve used your listening and observing skills to understand that some people in your contact list respond best on the phone instead of emailing and texting, then you need to call them, and don’t try and send numerous emails because they won’t be read or read correctly.
Some people prefer texting to all other forms of communication and if that is the case, ok, but be sure you understand how they think. If you don’t truly understand them, the texts you might send could appear rude, angry, etc. Texting is one of the toughest forms of communication because it is suppose to be short and people interrupt words and sentence formations completely different. Also one word out of place or the use of auto word spell can cause confusion on the other side. Texting should be limited to quick thoughts with concrete answers. For example: See you tonight @8pm at the radio station. That text is easy, concise, and you have probably already talked about it. Texting becomes a problem when you are expressing ideas, thoughts, and plans for the time. Many people like to use texting for everything and it’s not a method of communication devised for everything. When you need to convey a concept, idea, thought, or a plan, it is best to at least leave a voicemail and then text the person and let them know to listen to the voicemail you left. Even if that person doesn’t answer the phone, they will listen and understand where you are coming from and your tone of voice and your emotion. Doing this takes the guesswork out of the communication and allows for much less texting. (Experiencing carpel tunnel symptoms when texting means you are having to text too much and another mode of communication is needed immediately.) Emailing is a preferred mode of communication for some people and usually is more detail oriented than texting but you still have the problem of words and no voice. The reason why the symbols have become so widely used is so people understand or not confuse what tone of voice or mood the other person is in who is texting. How many smiley faces do you get on texts these days?
The next time you need to express an idea, thought, or make plans with another person, stop and remember what mode of communication works best with this particular person. Once you have realized or remembered, then contact them appropriately. If this person is new and you haven’t been around them to know which mode of communication works best, then use the one that works best for you and observe and listen for how they respond. This particular way of doing things will allow for less stress and headache on you and you will feel heard and understood. You will also gain massive amounts of insight into the people around you. The lines of communication are now open!