Let’s get clear about something in 2020. Effective communication is essential in sustaining fulfilling relationships. Yet, in communicating, it’s so easy to get wires crossed, misinterpret, make assumptions, jump to conclusions, ignore the facts, etc. I urge everyone to work on improving your communication in 2020. If you think you communicate superbly, you might want to consider further refining your skills.
What am I talking about? I’m glad you asked because as you know, communication takes several forms such verbal, nonverbal, and written. The communication styles I learned about in college as a social sciences student was assertive, passive, aggressive, and passive aggressive. (HINT: You want to be assertive.) There are many platforms of which to communicate (Ex., in person, phone, instant message, text, emails, audio, video calls, etc.) and the act of communicating can entail multiple simultaneous activities (Ex., listening, watching, speaking, processing, interpreting, etc.)
At my place of work, communication is a constant challenge because I work for a large bureaucratic agency. The volume of work is VAST. I’m flooded with emails on a daily basis. And here’s a NEWS FLASH!!! Emails are not the most effective mode of communication. Yet interestingly, many people think it is the best way to communicate. My opinion is that in person is the best way and all other modes can work to support in person communication, but not without extra effort.
Over the last few months, I’ve noticed communication problems with a member of my team. In these types of situations, as the leader, I assess where I can tighten up my communication style to ensure I’m communicating effectively. Be direct. Check. Give sufficient information – no more, no less. Check. Paraphrase what was said to ensure I understand. Check. Repeat. Check. Summarize. Check. However, despite my best efforts, communication continued to decline. We ended up having a meeting with a director to help mediate the situation. At the end of the day, it was a matter of communication styles and some other factors.
I love how my cats Beignet and Cannoli (pictured) communicate with the four humans in their house (us) and with each other. Beignet is the alpha cat of the two. He’s aggressive with his expression of love. He is constantly affirming his love for me by following me EVERY WHERE, giving me tail hugs, brushing up against my leg when I’m on the toilet, meowing for me to open the door after I purposely locked him out, winking at me when we lock eyes, laying on my chest in the early morning, sleeping on my shoes, and believe it or not, there are many more ways Beignet displays his love for me.
Cannoli does all the same things as Beignet, but to a much more tame degree. He barely meows. Yet, he will communicate he loves me by laying at the foot of the bed instead of on my chest, except for when I’m on the couch…he’ll lay on my lap. He’ll gently rub against me when passing by, but not always. He’ll give me a wink too if he feels like it. I don’t get quite as many physical expressions of love from Cannoli as Beignet, but that’s fine because they’re different cats, communicating the same thing. They love me. Message received.
When my kids were younger and we first got our cats as kittens, I taught them to “listen” to what the cats were trying to tell us by their actions. I especially had to remind my daughter, the younger of my two kids. Don’t keep trying to hold Cannoli when he’s squirming in your arms. Let him go. He’ll come back to you when he’s ready. Beignet is wagging his tail rapidly and his ears are pointed up, which probably means he’s agitated and may lash out at you. Don’t get in his face. Cannoli is rubbing up against you again, which probably means he wants you to pick him up. There are plenty of nonverbal cues our cats give to let us know what they want, but you have to be observant and discerning.
I wish communicating with other humans were as simple as communicating with pets. Despite all the tools at our disposal, communication can go haywire if you don’t pay attention. Each person is different, has different learning and communication styles, and motivations. People can use all the tools thinking communication will be better, but not necessarily. It takes effort and intentionality. Beignet demonstrates his love using all of his tools and because I’ve received his message, I reciprocate. You have to be intentional about communicating. I’ll do a later post on communicating with your loved ones.
So I encourage you to evaluate how you may need to improve your communication style in 2020. There is always room for improvement.
What’s your communication style? What areas do you need to improve upon?
One thought on “2020 Communication-Can you hear me MEOW?”
I really appreciated this being an animal lover all my life and marrying one. we had cats for the whole 45 years we were married in the beginning he forced a cat on me I said no no I have terrible allergies I can’t have a cat near me . well he was saving a cat that was in the middle of the road, a little boy was holding him , he stopped the car he said what are you doing to that cat the child said mommy won’t let me have him, I have to get rid of him husband said put the cat in the back seat of the car and I’m no no we can’t do that.. I’m an 18 year old girl married to a 42 year old man and of course my husband won out . for the next 45 years we were animal rescuers so I see your point I see it in my own animals right now I have three Maine coon females and to watch them and all of their movements they don’t have to talk everything about them screams out their Words Their Love sometimes they’re irritations and I guess we probably have to watch that in other people. I watch a lot of body language when I speak to someone I watch when they’re falling asleep the moment I open my mouth , the selfish people when it’s not all about them they fall asleep right in front of me leaning on the table almost falling off the chair but the moment I stop speaking about something intelligent they can’t wait to take over and tell me some kind of nonsensical disturbing news that they have about nothing .. I say to myself next time you pull that on me I will make on I’m falling asleep and falling off of the chair,, but why stoop to their level yes I think we need to be more aware of the situation and that way we can just choose who we want to be around . Your post was very interesting & Thanks again