A word that makes it’s way into just about every area of our lives. We communicate on a daily and hourly basis. Communication looks different, depending on what we are doing, who we are talking to and what we are trying to accomplish.
I don’t know about you, but the importance of communicating clearly these days seems to be greater than any other time I can personally remember in my life. The pandemic we have been in and still are facing, has brought many of us into confusion on how much to communicate and how much space to give people. Some people have gotten used to isolation and don’t know how to re-engage others again like they used to.
If I’m being honest, I’ve really struggled with this. As a Pastor involved in leading a local church, I’ve often scratched my head with an uncertainty of how to communicate with people right now. Questions have come to my mind about how often to reach out to someone, since I’m not currently seeing some people as much as I used to. Do I check on them every week? Every other week? Once a month? You see what I’m saying!
Throughout this season, one form of communication that I’ve noticed to be more effective than any other, is a phone call. For me, this has applied within the local church, but also with other relationships I have, too. I think I’ve always known this was true, but found it easier and more convenient to just send someone a text or email. Personally calling someone takes a lot more energy and intentionality, at least for some people. Many of us just aren’t huge fans of talking on the phone, which I can relate to!
As I’ve observed this lately, here are a few thoughts to consider that I hope encourage you in your relationships and leadership. This obviously applies to the COVID-19 season, but I also believe this will continue to apply for years to come:
- People easily misunderstand text messages, emails or social media comments and messages.
Have you ever sent a message through texting, email or social media and then regretted it? Yes. We all have! Maybe what you were trying to communicate was fine, but the way you communicated it was not. The unfortunate thing about that, is that once it’s sent, it’s too late!
Now obviously, there is a time and place for a simple message to be sent. There are certain messages that need no explanation, a simple check in or phrases like: “Ok, Lol, Haha, Ttyl, Hey, Bye” etc. As I typed those I couldn’t help but to laugh some, because I send messages like that sometimes too, that are quick and easy and get the point across with no problem. I think those things are great and save us A LOT of time! I send messages like that every day.
What I’m referring to are the more important, significant conversations that need to be had. Your intentions with a message you send may be great, but if it’s an important message and can be interpreted in a way that you don’t intend, you may just want to call or meet with that person face to face. If you are sending a message for something like that, I would recommend sending it in order to trigger a phone call or meeting, keeping it vague and typing with wisdom. Our tone or expression in a message can unfortunately leave the person receiving the message confused, on edge and often wondering things that may not be true! We have to learn what’s worthy of a message and what’s worthy of a phone call or meeting.
A question to consider when wanting to send someone a rude or confusing message: Would you tell them the exact same thing in person or on a phone call, or are you hiding behind your messaging so you can avoid in-person conflict?
Sidenote: Social media is NOT the place to share all of your opinions and disagreements with others. Just thought I’d throw that out there.
- People have less confusion and more clarity with phone calls.
As I just mentioned, if the conversation is that important and you want to make sure it’s received well, you need to call them. If it’s even more important, you need to call them to then set up an in person meeting.
Personally, I enjoy having clarity. No one enjoys being confused. When I speak with someone on the phone about something, I can actually hear their voice. I can usually tell whether they may understand or not or if they are upset or happy. I can talk about more things and quickly come to a conclusion with that person.
If you personally enjoy clarity, rest assured that the other person does too! We can save a lot of time and energy when we verbally talk through something with someone else.
- People really appreciate the intentionality of phone calls.
We should aim to be intentional with everything we do! Intentionality gives our life more meaning and purpose, helping us not just go through the motions. This also includes our communication. Whenever I have made a phone call to someone, or someone has called me, it’s seriously a game changer! They are taking time out of their day to use that energy to actually have a conversation with me. It means the world to me and I’ve seen my calls mean the world to others too. They have personally thanked me for the time, conversation and clarity.
It’s like writing a hand written letter. I know that’s old school, but trust me, it means so much to people. Thank you notes, sympathy cards and congratulations cards show others that you took the time to think about them and let them know. I believe that phone calls are similar. It brings love and value to people we communicate with!
To some of us, depending on your age or personality, phone calls may seem old school. After all, our phones these days give us access to so many new ways to communicate. I get all of that. And I’m not saying that all other ways to communicate are ineffective or wrong. But, I do think that too much screen time and messaging can make us lazy and ineffective in our communication.
So, who’s on your mind today? Is there something important you would like to say to them or talk with them about? Try giving them a call and see how it goes!