Has communicating online helped you connect better?
This article is letter (N) of our “Human Connect” series where we write an article for each letter of the phrase. “Human Connect” explores how relationships will change in the digital age. Find links to more articles in the series below.
Communication – it’s the bedrock of human connection and understanding. The level of sophistication with which we communicate has definitely evolved. Fast forward to today where we read letters on an electric screen that’s connected to a digital network. Texts, emails, image quotes, videos, tweets...there are hundreds of different ways to communicate online. The real question is has technologically advanced forms of communication help us connect with each other better?
What’s The Big Deal About Communication?
“If you just communicate, you can get by, but if you communicate skillfully, you can work miracles”
- Jim Rohn
At it’s core, communication is sharing and understanding meaning. Imagine if you woke up tomorrow and you weren’t able to communicate, who would you be? Pretty different. That’s because “Communication forms a part of your self-concept, and it helps you understand yourself and others, solve problems and learn new things, and build your career.” And regardless of technology, here are three forms of communication we found important for a digital lifestyle – Verbal, Written, and Listening.
Storytelling: people remember stories because there is a structure to a story. Presenting your message in a story reinforces and perpetuates your message.
Conversations: the most basic form of communication there is. And body language accounts for a huge amount of your conversation. Combine that with your tone, eye contact, gestures, and facial expression and how you say things is way more important than the words you choose.
Written language is another huge part of communication. It consists of traditional pen and paper as well as texts, emails, instant messages, etc. The downside of anything written is a lack of body language so tone is set by sentence structure and choice of words.
It deserves a category all it’s own because so few of us actively listen. When you’re actively listening, you are truly trying to understand where the other person is coming from. Not just politely nodding your head while you think of what you want to say when the other person is done talking. One quick tip is to give the conversation some space by taking one breath before saying something. You may be surprised by how much of a better listener it makes you. When you are a good listener, people around you will feel understood and respected.
Communication Technology Trends
Technology has developed a lot to better human communication including 5G connection, IoT, LiFI (light based data connectivity), and even molecular nanobot communication. At the end of the day, these technologies are adept at moving data faster and more efficiently.
While, that’s great (data is information and information is the first step to understanding), data is a bit useless without context. Communication, verbal, written, listening, is pretty dependent on who says it, under what circumstances, and how it’s said.
What’s a real game-changer when it comes to communication is BrainNet – a network of direct brain-to-brain communication. At its most basic explanation, it works by translating the brain’s activity into electromagnetic signals which can then be sent to other brains. We may be able to bypass the common barriers of communication to achieve a new form of empathy. In the near future, saying “I know what you’re thinking” may be literal instead of metaphorical.
Until all our brains are connected in a network, we’ll be brushing up on our communication skills – online and offline. And if we were to choose the first skill to focus on, it would be listening. “They” say listening is a lost art. Listening is key to connecting with other people.
This article is part of our “Human Connect” series where we write an article for each letter of the phrase. “Human Connect” explores how relationships will change in the digital age.
Click below to read more articles in the “Human Connect” series: