Communication is an essential skill in life. It’s what brings people together, develops relationships and gets us ahead in the working world.
Today, it’s easy to communicate quickly. Emails, texts and calls can be made within seconds. But with companies offering high-speed internet connections and unlimited data, it’s easy to fall into the trap of rushing communication with abbreviated texts, poorly punctuated emails and five-minute phone calls.
Nothing is wrong with using these channels to communicate. Modern technology has opened up many doors for communication across the world. But we should be careful not to be lulled by the siren call of instantaneous communication without thought. Rushing often leads to poor communication. And poor communication can lead to all kinds of conflict.
Poor communication could lead to simple misunderstandings caused by misspelled words or incorrect punctuation. But it could also lead to fights if your communication partner takes your message the wrong way and becomes defensive. Situations like this aren’t always easy to diffuse once the damage is done.
And sometimes, it’s better not to write messages at all. If the situation is delicate, opt for a phone call or meet with someone face-to-face. Texting and emailing are easy, but they aren’t always the appropriate means of communication.
If you plan to communicate with someone over text or email, here are some tips to prevent conflicts:
1. If you are sending a serious message, consider using email rather than text. It’s easy to hit the send button on your smartphone before you are finished crafting your message.
2. Carefully proofread all of your written communication. Reword awkward sentences, even if it means spending a half-hour on a draft.
3. Write what you want to say in a letter before drafting it on an email. Writing the words out on paper will make you think more.
4. Practice journaling to cut back on emotional messages. Write your feelings down for yourself before you share them with others. You might find, when you’re reading them over later, that it would be completely inappropriate to share them with a communication partner.
5. Think before you act. If you’re angry, resist communicating negatively with someone. The worse the communication gets, the harder it becomes to diffuse the situation.
Finally, remember to be courteous. Good communicators have self-control and remain gracious, even during conflicts. Be someone whose communication is honest, ethical and uplifting.