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Communication – More Than Words

November 3, 2016
by Anesa McGregor , Emmetsburg News

Imagine this, you see two separate groups of young people. They are walking towards each other and pass, but they are mainly looking down at their phones and texting. Now you find out that they were just texting each other.

I actually saw this scenario played out in real life at the Clay County Fair. I was dumbfounded. I didn't know what to say or think. What kept going through my head was "Is texting the way communication will be like in the future?" If this is what we have to look forward too, then I think the human race is in trouble.

I have taken many courses on involving speech between high school and college. These classes taught me a lot as far as all of the aspects of communication. To effectively communicate there are three basic components: speaker, listener and the message. All three must be involved or core of the message can be misinterpreted and that is when many get into trouble. Communication is extremely important in our everyday lives. It involves both verbal and non-verbal skills that we fine tune daily our entire lives, most of the time we don't even realize we are doing this. Something as simple as a word and correct pronunciation can decide the outcome of a conversation.

So much goes into verbal communication overall: voice tone, voice speed, voice volume, language, vocabulary and grammar and body language, all play a large part in everyday communication. We have all heard that particular voice with the stern tone, talking fast and loud and we knew we were in trouble. In fact, as children, when that voice was heard, we stopped whatever we were doing. Yet, the same voice when it has a soothing tone, talking slow and quiet help stop the crying and made everything better.

Vocabulary, language and grammar are important in verbal communication also. Words can be considered your paint palette when speaking to paint a complete picture of what you are saying so there is no misrepresentation of the message you are trying to communicate. Being able to at least speak important phrases in another language and being grammatically correct, also can aid in verbal communication depending on the circumstances.

Listening is the third component in communication. A person might think this means simply hearing what is being said, but there is so much more to it. Both verbal and non-verbal communication involves body language. The way you hold yourself can convey a lot of feelings and emotions to the other party. Obtaining and maintaining eye contact is extremely important. It lets the other party know that you are interested in what is being said and you are trying to comprehend the meaning behind the words.

So back to my beginning regarding the young people texting, passing each other yet never saying a verbal word. I was told this is the way it is now days. Things have changed since the olden days then I was growing up. In one aspect they were right, things have changed since I grew up.

First, we didn't have cell phones only landlines. You could call anyone and by simple listening, you could determine the mood one the other end of the line by what was being said, how it was being said and the tone of the voice. A person also had a normal face-to-face conversation with friends. We didn't walk past each other without acknowledging the person. It was considered rude not to speak.

How can you judge a conversation, the attitude and tone of someone you are texting if you are not face to face? Communication is a large part of our everyday lives. Not a day passes that we don't talk with someone whether it is face to face or on the phone. Our younger generations need to lose the cell phones and get back to the basics. They need to learn good communications skills and then go back to texting. At least this way, good communication will not be lost on future generations.



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