WQWWC #42: Communication and Connection

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood” – Steven Covey

I am a huge fan of Steven Covey’s 7 habits. Habit 5 encourages us to “use empathetic listening to genuinely understand a person, which compels them to reciprocate the listening and take an open mind to be influenced. This creates an atmosphere of caring, and positive problem-solving.”

To clarify my own understanding I wrote this slightly random A-Z poem on communication.

Again I start writing 
Because I can better
Communicate my 
Desires by using words that 
Energise me to 
Feel differently about these
Grand ideas although
How they find form
Inside my mind by
Jumbling around
Kinetically seems
Nonsense that 
Originates without
Purpose yet  
Random thoughts
To be heard and
Understood and at least the 
Veracity of my
Writing is

It reminds me of these words too:

"Write to be understood,
Speak to be heard,
Read to grow"

I definitely needed to read to grow my understanding of the meaning and usability of several of the words that tumbled out of my subconscious thought. Stream of consciousness is certainly one of the ways I communicate my random thoughts. All I need is an empathetic listener or reader. I hope you can understand it. When I read back what I had written, it made me smile anyway. 

“Great communication begins with connection” – Oprah Winfrey

Thank goodness for the internet, FaceTime, Whats App, and Zoom. If you can’t meet face-to-face, then an internet connection is the next best thing. I heard a radio talkback session considering the benefits of using video or not when zooming. How can not being visible assist effective communication? 

I attended a community zoom meeting recently with 160 participants, many of whom had turned their video off so there was a better internet connection for all. Unfortunately not everyone had muted their microphones so we could hear all their groans, snuffles and coughs. It was a good reminder about the need for social distancing, and yet… also about the value of face-to-face communications.   Eventually, the facilitator managed the mute buttons and the presentation continued. 

The meeting was to share and hear about the progress (or lack thereof) of the road repairs.  Our road has been closed since an extreme weather event  in mid-July which resulted in massive road slumps, slips and property damage. We heard the road closure will be in place for at least the next few months, if not a year for some residents, and that to use the road, residents have to apply for a pass to be used before 9am or after 3pm only. However this is only available for those of us within the first 10 kilometres of the 72 kilometre road. The others have to rely on boat access through barges and water taxis to get their groceries, fuel and mail. This highlighted again the importance of finding other ways of staying connected.

The chat message window was instantly filled with questions – some of which were answered during the presentation or in the Q&A session at the end. People had an overwhelming need to communicate their questions and anxiety. Needless to say there were lots of questions, although not many answers – yet!  I guess we will just have to keep talking or communicating in any way we can.

“lt’s not distance that keeps people apart, but lack of communication”

In these times of social distancing, it is even more important that we communicate well.  Yet talking and hearing messages through masks brings its own challenges. And just how can we read non-verbal communication?  Are our eyes able to convey our emotions?  How else can we communicate?

Communication is not a one way street– Jim George

Except, just for now, for us it is – and that one-way street is closed.

4 thoughts on “WQWWC #42: Communication and Connection

  1. Liana, there’s a lot to chew on in this post. I need a dictionary for some of those words! Good points about Zoom meetings. It takes a while to use it effectively. Your comment about communication without all the non-verbal clues reminds me of times I’ve used the wrong tool for communication with disastrous results! Thoughtful post!


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