Why Are We Failing at Communication?


Communication is essential to working well with others, but technology may be stunting the communication skills of the emerging generation.

The day we live in is a paradox. We buy technology to make our lives easier and to provide us with more leisure time—but we live more hectic lives than ever.

We long to stay socially connected, but we use technology that enables us to do it in isolation. For most students, they have more “friends” on Facebook than in real life.

Further, we live in the “information age” but not the “communication age.”

I just spoke to a CEO in Atlanta who told me he fired five employees in 2011. In every case, he told me, the people he let go were failures in communication. People either mis-communicated information, communicated it poorly, or flat out failed to communicate necessary details. What a sad commentary on their skill sets!

As time marches further into the 21st century, people are becoming lazier and poorer in their communication skills. The emotional intelligence of adolescents has dropped in the last ten years. In fact, those who are good at relationships and communication are at a premium. This is crucial for leaders to understand.

Communication is to a team what blood is to the body.
Take away the blood flow and you remove all life. Steve Burnett once said, “Regardless of the changes in technology, the market for well-crafted messages will always have an audience.”

Lee Iacocca, former CEO of Chrysler, said the obvious: “You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.” In fact, “The void created by the failure to communicate is soon filled with poison, drivel and misrepresentation” according to C. Northcote Parkinson. In short, people are down on what they’re not up on.

 “The art of communication is the language of leadership.” — James Humes

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