THE ART OF COMMUNICATION
When we think about communication, what is the first thought that comes to your mind? We associate communication with speech. Speaking is a form of how we communicate with each other. We have learned that communication means speaking. But is it?
Communication is so much more than merely that of speaking. There are many other forms, such as, non-verbal, observation, and listening.
Let’s look at the communication between a mother and that of a child. Within the first year of life, children will start forming words, for example, they may say, “mama”, “dada”, “nana”, and “baba”. Since they are limited to certain sound structures, at first only certain words and sounds are created. Subsequently, some words may be distinguishable amongst the caregivers raising the child, but some are not as obvious to outsiders. Although, you often hear the parent shout out with enthusiasm, “Did you hear what he/she just said? They just asked for a banana.” We, as the primary caregivers can detect the word banana even though the child isn’t developmentally capable of forming these sounds yet. However, we understand their desire for the banana and think we hear them say banana from learned behavior or observation.
Another form of communication is “people watching”. This act of observing is non-verbal and left to our own interpretations of what we are viewing within their interactions. It is a form of communication but instead of it being ours, we are observing another; communication, as we interpret it.
Communication may also be intimate. It is wonderful to be close to someone, a significant other, our partner, and understanding them without any verbal communication. Simple gestures of body language, such as twirling one’s hair between their fingers can indicate to the other of discomfort or in deep thought. A sigh, suggesting frustration or even a certain smile between two people with so much understanding without any need for words. Smiles can allude to expressions of, “I’m not feeling well”, I feel safe with you”, and so much more.
And finally, listening. One of the most important, yet undervalued forms of communication, which is so often overlooked. So many of us can talk up a storm but lack the qualifications of being an effective listener. Without the ability to listen, you do not have valued communication. So many people miss the true meaning of the word, communication. Speaking and listening must be equally important. Communication is about understanding and without listening, you cannot understand the words that are being spoken.
So next time you are having a conversation, pay close attention that you are not merely communicating words, but are fully understanding and processing the subject that is being communicated.
Have fun with it too. Try your spoken communication, observing others around you, smile at a stranger, letting them know that you “see” them. Notice the world around you with all its splendor. Communication is all around us, be a part of it, in every aspect it is intended to be.
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