How Do You Effectively Communicate in 2017?

Saturday, March 25, 2017
I was going to write a profound article about how dreams are so important in our writing lives and how I endorse napping as a work event. Then I changed my mind and was going to write something about not letting the opinions of others determine how you feel about a book, your work, yourself, etc...and use a catchy title or quote from Gone with the Wind (ie: "Frankly, My Dear, I don't give a damn." ) and as I was pondering, I heard a noise outside the kitchen window. I'm easily distracted so I went to check out the noise (and put on the kettle for a cup of tea) and here is what I found (see pic on right):

I spent a good ten minutes watching these two and decided that it's time we have a chat about effective communication. These two are still at it outside and boy are they loud...but in the time I watched them, I was very confused about what was going on. The cat on the left is a pregnant female and the cat on the right is a young male. They are screaming at one another and the male is clearly the aggressor as you can see the female is backed into a corner. She isn't helpless however and she isn't backing down. Both tails are still wagging happily and their ears are upright. At first glance one might think he is courting her but keep in mind she is already pregnant. I still have no idea what they are doing, and I have no intention of going back to become a cat psychologist. However, these two are clearly communicating with one another and that's what matters most.

The cat fight left me asking myself:
Have you ever had a disagreement with a friend? Are you the Rory Gilmore who wants to talk it out and make it all better or are you Lucy who needs some time to yourself to sort things out? (from Season 7 of the Gilmore Girls). Are you always one or the other or can you be both? Have you ever had a miscommunication with a co-worker, associate, or friend? Could that miscommunication been avoided with effective and clear communication? Could you say something differently or do something better that would eliminate or reduce these errors in the future?

I think we can all agree we've had a communication breakdown at some point in our lives and the human race as a whole could benefit from clearer communication. My head is still spinning trying to figure out how we do this though.

When I was growing up, effective communication wasn't quite as tricky as it is today. We had telephones (and they were connected to the wall if you must know), letters (that were stamped and mailed), in person conversations, and then these intricately folded notes we would pass back and forth in the halls at school. If you were talking on the phone or speaking in person you could watch someone's body language or listen to the tone of their voice and know if your message was being received in the way you intended it. With our written letters and notes, you could read and re-read what you wrote to make sure it would make sense. These aren't fool-proof and we still had disagreements and communication breakdowns, but they were few and far between.

Fast forward to 2017...

I'm not even sure how to effectively communicate in the present age. There's snap chat, twitter, facebook, messenger, tinder, texting, instagram, and the list goes on and on. I recently offended someone and lost a long time friend because she thought an article I wrote was about her. Even though I explained that it wasn't, the damage was done. A simple social media post can be interpreted many different ways (- especially if you post those vague updates that are seeking attention but that's a different article entirely).

I'm here as a mother, writer, businesswoman, friend, daughter, and wife...and I'm begging of you - leave some comments, suggestions, and ideas of how I can effectively communication in 2017. How can I teach my children to effectively communicate? What works and what doesn't work?

On a side note, the cats have resolved their issues and my tea is delicious. Enjoy your weekend and thanks for being such awesome readers, writers, followers and friends!


Crystal is a secretary and musician at her church, babywearing cloth diapering mama (aka crunchy mama), business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger, Blog Tour Manager with WOW! Women on Writing, Publicist with Dream of Things Publishing, Press Corp teammate for the DairyGirl Network, Unicorn Mom Ambassador, as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin with her husband, four young children (Carmen 10, Andre 8, Breccan 3, Delphine 2, and baby E due this fall), two dogs, two rabbits, four little piggies, a handful of cats and kittens, and over 230 Holsteins.

You can find Crystal riding unicorns, taking the ordinary and giving it a little extra (making it extraordinary), blogging and reviewing books, baby carriers, cloth diapers, and all sorts of other stuff here, and on her personal blog about turning life's lemons into lemonade!


Margo Dill said...

I think two of the problems with today are: 1. we can almost immediately type or text what we are feeling instead of giving ourselves a chance to slow down and think about what we want to say to someone. 2. Tone does not come across in a text or even email sometimes. Miscommunication happens because we are quick and not taking time to explain ourselves and expect that everyone should be able to know what we mean.

Lyn Jensen said...

Dogs' tails wag (and it usually means they're happy). Cats' tails twitch (and it usually means they're not happy).

Angela Mackintosh said...

I've seen my cat in this predicament and I panic and end up running over and chasing the other cat away. I don't want a cat fight and a vet bill. I know it's natural behavior but I'm too much of a control freak! I'm the same way with social media... I used to be part of a chat room group and would end up dominating the conversation. I tend to obsess and spend way too much time, so it's best for me not engage in social media on a personal level. I'm still old fashioned that way--a phone call, meeting, or dinner is best for me. For business, it's fine. I agree with Margo that tone does not come across in email or short messages. I try to be as clear as I can, and if it's a personal experience that I'm writing about someone else in a blog post or newsletter, I write it as if I know they're going to read it, while remaining as honest as possible. Just be true to yourself and your message. You can't monitor what everyone else thinks. Some people think everything is about them.

Crystal Otto said...

Thank you all for your helpful comments - I think I agree about tone...if I have something important to say, or something I think can be misinterpreted, I am going to proceed in the old fashioned manner of sitting down over coffee or the very least a telephone conversation. Social media, texting, etc... leaves too much room for interpretation and hurt feelings.

Now I also know more about cats and dogs - thanks all for brightening my day!


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