Thursday, August 20, 2009

The need for good communication

One of the most invaluable tools of life is communication. The responsibility of communication, in reality, falls upon the shoulders of all people. When communication is done well and used as the valuable asset that it is- people succeed. On the other hand, when communication is neglected or ignored people are not as likely to succeed. Knowing this truth and acting in such a way so as to utilize this valuable skill will always produce good results for those who practice it well.
Good communication reaps great results. Kenneth W. Oosting rightly observes, "Probably the most important factor in whether the person is liked is in how well they communicate with those around them. If people like you, they will find a way to like what you do. If they do not like you, they will find a way to criticize what you do. Think about it." The basic truth is, good communicators are popular with those around them and they generally receive higher honor than their contemporaries. Numerous factors, no doubt, contribute to this reality. For instance, when an employee proves himself to be good at communication, he saves the company time, energy, and money in preventing issues that could result from poor communication by a coworker with an equal academic standing. Thus, good communicators are highly valuable on the job. Another factor that can add to the high regard for a skilled communicator is their ability to help things run smoothly in numerous areas of life. As would be expected, when someone communicates clearly and effectively everyone knows what is expected and what needs to take place; this results in fewer conflicts and people receive the benefits. Finally, good communicators are well liked because they can make life easier for everyone.
People who are good communicators also yield a great deal of power and influence. As was stated above, "If people like you, they find a way to like what you do." If this be true -and no doubt it is, effective communicators are more likely to find favor in the eyes of their employers. They will be the ones who get promotions and head up the corporate ladder, so to speak. As these good communicators are promoted they only prove themselves to be more influential and better liked than the other guy who himself has never communicated well. People who are skilled communicators make great employers, managers, salesmen, husbands, wives, speech writers, authors, and even pastors. There is no telling the amount of influence a good communicator can yield and so it stands, that those who are good at communication are successful in what they do. To look at the opposite side of the issue, what happens when someone doesn't communicate well? Failure is the result. When failure happens people become discouraged and a poor self image is fostered which only adds to the failure to communicate.
Having looked at the positive and negative aspects of communication, lets now look to the question of Oosting, which is plainly stated in the title of the paper. "Who's responsibility is it to communicate?" As I mentioned in the introduction, all people to some degree or another have the responsibility to communicate. We learned in the paragraphs above that the degree to which communication is done well positive results will follow and the degree to which communication is done poorly failure will result. Communication is desirable for everyone, whether it is a husband and wife discussing the food budget or a teacher explaining algebraic equations to his students. The worker at McDonalds is expected to know how to effectively take an order at the drive up, and the janitor is expected to know what questions to ask in order to properly clean the restrooms. All people have the responsibility to communicate.
At certain times our responsibility to communicate can become an ethical necessity. As the book of James says, "Anyone who knows the good he ought to do and does not do it, to him it is sin." If one were to come across a tragic car accident and have the ability to offer assistance by calling for emergency help, using his cell phone, he has a responsibility to communicate. If a person knows of an illegal activity that is going on at work, such as theft, he has a moral obligation to communicate such things to those in authority. These are some examples of moral and ethical responsibilities people have in which they must communicate.
We also have the mandate of Jesus, who said, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Oosting lists this "golden rule" in the numerical options he provides as one of Ron's considerations. The primary importance of our responsibility to communicate well, I would argue, rests in our Lord's mandate. Would you like it if no one returned your phone calls? The obvious answer is no. Therefore, to state it negatively, don't do to others what you would not have them do to you; or the flip side, to speak positively, do do to others as you would have them do to you! A personal examination is in line here, ask yourself this question, "How would I like it if I was being communicated to in the way that I communicate?" Your answer may help to shed some light on whether or not you are a good communicator.
I will now attempt to answer the illustration of Ron as though I was in his shoes. As Ron returned to his office, after a long day on the field, he received the notes to call back ten people who had missed him while he was out of the office. Ron still had a great amount of work to do before he headed home for the night. The first person Ron should call back right away is his immediate boss. Ron could immediately mark that off the to do list. His next responsibility is to communicate to the other people who had called and set up a time in which he could meet with them over the phone when he was less busy. This will free him up to finish what needs to be done in the office and establish a clear message to the other people- that he cares about communicating with them. If Ron does this, he is fulfilling his responsibilities, applying the golden rule, and winning the respect of the people who call him.
If we communicate, we will see positive results. Good communicators are successful, capable of leading well, and just plain likable. All people are under obligation to communicate at different levels and to varying degrees. As we apply what Oosting has to say, we can only become better communicators.

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