by Dr. Jeffrey Lant
It’s time to call a spade a spade. We are members of the
most communications savvy and personally wired
generation ever. Even the tiniest mite has her cell
phone with camera. Yet the truth is, the explosion
of communications tools has produced less real
communication than ever; you and your poor
communications skills are one of the culprits. Listen
up! After all, it’s time your communication skills
improved to the level of your communications tools.
The quality of communications is not strained…
You, being an educated soul, are no doubt
familiar with Portia’s famous speech:
The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
(The Merchant of Venice. Act 4, scene 1.)
Bold and even impious, I now advise you (while great
Shakespeare rolls in his grave) to change the
word “mercy” to “communications,” thus:
The quality of communications is not strain’d…
it is twice blessed…”
And so it is. Good communications are good for
the recipient and for the sender too.
You know this… but you do not act accordingly.
Which is why this (shall we say) motivating article
is so necessary and why you should take every
single word to heart and make radical adjustments
in your lamentable behavior.
Poor communicators (with the probability strong
that you are one of them) exhibit these traits:
Arrogance. The human animal is a selfish animal,
conceived in selfishness and nurtured in the belief
that the Great Me, the universe-centered I Am is the
most important animal anywhere at any time. As a
result, this animal well and truly believes that she
is so important that others must feel grateful, even when
the communication is not returned. Oh, my!
People (like you?) who do not communicate effectively
are people who are telling others, clear as crystal, that
they are superior to you; that their time is more valuable
than yours… and that these lesser folk need wait (and happily so)
and wait and wait some more until you condescend to
Such people by their behavior and non responsiveness
clearly indicate that you and your concerns are, by
definition, of infinitely less consideration than theirs.
And that you’d best be glad for the little you get, for
it is infinitely more than you deserve.
Poor communicators are slothful.
Good communicators, effective communicators
realize that the business of communicating is like
a tennis match. The ball must always be in motion
between the communicator and those he wishes to
communicate with. When the ball stops moving,
the communication stops with it. The person who
has stopped the communicating process is , by
definition, the lazy, inhibiting one.
All too often the communication stops and is
not extended because of unadulterated sloth.
It takes work to communicate… it takes work
to conceive a message and deliver that message.
It takes work to be prepared and move matters to
their next stage. However the slothful communicator
can and does think of a myriad of “reasons” why
he can obliterate the communications process
without remorse. Thus he goes blithely on with
his affairs while others, fuming, apply language
which is ever more blue as time passes and their
legitimate reasons for communicating go without
any response whatsoever. Oh, my!
A special cycle of hell
For the intractable, for the miscreants arrogant
and slothful who will not change, an idea: for them:
a special cycle of hell wherein they are asked such
questions as “are you hungry?” or “are you feeling
hot and uncomfortable?” These hungry and uncomfortable
miscreants answer and answer and answer. But
response comes there none, ever. Delicious.
Help for the socially challenged and shy johns
and janes everywhere.
Yet is the world of the non communicators made up
solely and exclusively of the arrogant and slothful?
Certainly not. It is also, and in significant numbers, the
preserve of the shy, the timid, the socially malaprop,
For them a single word: study.
There is one thing and only one thing which sets
us apart and elevated from animals of every kind
and place… and that one thing is communicating.
So, if you truly wish to learn, improve and foster
rather than retard communications, here is what
you must learn and do.
1) Learn empathy, that crucial ability to enter
into the minds and hearts of the people you are to
communicate with. What is it they are expecting
from you? Deliver that, to the furthest extent
possible, and you have the essential element of
2) Be prompt about responding. In an age of
instant communications, there can be absolutely
no reason for delayed or no response at all
except your own failure to provide it. The means
are at hand; use them “as quick as boiled
asparagus.” And that’s very fast!
3) Be clear on where you can be reached.
Assume the person you are communicating
with does not have this vital intelligence. State
it clearly, thoroughly… and reiterate to avoid any
4) Be willing to try again if the person you
are trying to reach (even if that person initiated
the communication) fails to respond. Remember,
empathy is the basis for successful communications.
5) Above all else, never stop improving your
knowledge of communication and its techniques.
In this golden age of communications, the
overwhelming majority of loaves and fishes
will go to the communicating elite… those who make
it a point to master communications and steadily
enhance their knowledge and expertise. Make
that person you!
Give this article to the communicating challenged.
They need it so.
Your last task for today is to give a copy of this
article to every substandard and inadequate
communicator you can. The task at hand, training
communicators and enhancing their skills, is a
lifetime affair. Start it now. There is so very much
to do and so many who need the help.