I’m not known for getting straight to the point. I’m not known for my brief emails. I’m not known for my hieroglyphic style text messages (praise the iPhone as I can essay the hell out of any conversation). I would apologize for wasting your time but you know what, I guarantee you when the time comes that I need to explain something important, communicate something effectively or really let you know how I feel (I can be life-altering blunt when appropriate)…I’m that guy.
And that’s where this post leads:
Writing is important every day!
Here’s the thing: Let’s just say I happen to be the smartest person in the world (I’m not but go with me), how would anyone know unless I could communicate whatever the subject was that I was supposedly genius with? See, speaking and writing are quite simply the process of thinking something, finding the words and well…speaking or writing it. So, if I were better at finding the words, then I would naturally be better at both tasks, no?
To me, personally, there is nothing more frustrating than being unable to communicate exactly what I have in mind in the moment. We’ve all been there, replaying a conversation or email after-the-fact wishing we would have said this instead of that. I’ll tell you that this exact circumstance is what drove me to teach myself how to write. Since a teen my chosen method was journals and poems. For some it’s books or novels. Even for some it could be those English classes you took in University. For some it’s the inverse of this: the easy to love bookworm. Have you ever spoken with a well-read person? They’re incredibly talented at finding those unique words that put POP in a conversation.
I’ll admit, I’m a word cop sometimes. I’m all good with unintentional spelling mistakes, stuff happens. I’m sure there’s more than a few lurking in my blogs even though I proof read it and have others help me there too. Who cares. Learning to use the correct word however is important (to the appearance of not looking dumb or ill-educated; whoops that’s my inside voice). The person who keeps talking about how “there dad is so controlling and how when she moves out of there house it’s going to be so much better with there’s and everyone else’s world”. Is it just me that goes crazy over that level of vocabulary?
The cool thing is if you correct someone without making them feel dumb, they usually change their ways. And there are times when that’s actually important – like job resume’s for example.
It’s not about fancy words. I can’t stand those people who over use big words to sound smart. This isn’t a dissertation, it’s a conversation, chill out. Just use the right ones.
Texting and 1984’s Big Brother
Oh, the text message. I have far more text conversations than I’d care to admit. And while I’ll slip an “lol” “lmfao” “wtf” and such abbreviations in there every once in a while I REFUSE to adopt “Kk.” AHHHHH! I can’t handle it. Look, the O on the keyboard your iPhone, Crackberry or any other phone you use is so very close to the K. Why must you do this? I know more than a few who have reverted to text language so esoteric I’d swear they took it off the Egyptian pyramid walls. Would you please send me the magic decoder next time you decide to talk to me like that.
Guaranteed this kid gets the worst present from Santa imaginable:
It just reminds me of 1984 and how words were removed from the language to keep everyone ignorant. My generation’s kids and grandkids are simply going to grunt at each other to communicate. I hope I’m dead before that happens.
Practice Makes Better (never perfect)
Has anyone ever commented on your bad spelling, grammar or lack of communication skills? No, cool, keep reading and doing your thing. If you just put your head down in shame, look, it’s not gonna get any better unless you start somewhere. Use the proper “Ok” instead of “Kk” for one. Try talking to a friend about a single subject for longer than 10 minutes and having it become more interesting as you go on.
Has a boyfriend/girlfriend/partner ever said you stink at talking with them? Or worse…in the bedroom? How will you ever learn your significant other unless you can learn to ask the right questions? The deeper the subject, the greater the vocabulary required to pinpoint the issue or subject as things tend to get vague (or worse, dodgy) at some point.
Ever had to tell a friend he’s being an idiot? Ever had him become uber defensive immediately? Guess what – your fault! You didn’t know how to approach it properly via your words to create the result you originally sought.
Forget Reading and Writing
While some musicians can become great without ever having to learn the language of music (chords, for example), this doesn’t follow suit for the spoken language. It’s the equivalent of going on a trip to Japan for 3 months and before leaving you learn only to speak the language. Great, now you can ask someone what that sign says. There’s a major disconnect there.
Learning to find the right words is everything in communication! In my opinion, the only way to improve that skill is via writing.
Journals Are For Wussies
Fine. Cool. Whatever. Try this: every time you get into a time and energy worthy conversation via text, email, Facebook debate, or memo do your best to not cheat the language. Truly think about what you’re trying to say. Think about how the other person may interpret it. Think about the impression you are trying to leave that person(s) with. Because somewhere along the line you are being judged based on your ability to communicate. You might lose the respect of the recipient, you might lose the job, you might lose the girl (or guy), you might lose everything based on not finding the right words for the moment.
I’m going to leave you with a quote that really sank this subject home for me, it is from a favorite book of mine: Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai which said:
“Moreover, according to what the priest Ryozan heard when he was in the Kamigata area, when one is writing a letter, he should think that the recipient will make it into a hanging scroll”