A friend of mine recently shared with me something that we all probably know, but it’s easy to forget, or at least be aware of its impact. He told me that a professor he once studied under said, “No communication is communication.”
On the surface that statement seems a little lacking, but if you’re able to apply it to a context that you’re familiar with, it has the ability to speak volumes.
For instance, at work I deal with a lot of emails with my fellow co-workers as well as our customers primarily because I’m a part of a virtual office. We don’t have a brick and mortar building where we come together on a regular basis. So, I rely on communication that uses technology in one way or another. When I call and leave a message or send an email or text asking for information or a return call, I’m expecting that within 24 hours I’ll hear back from that person. When this doesn’t happen, when I receive no communication, I find myself getting irked. It’s annoying and this lack of communication is definitely communicating something. I feel like they’re communicating that my correspondence is not important.
Another example is when I communicate with my kids. More often than not they will not choose to verbally respond to what I’ve said, whether it’s a directive or a compliment. What’s up with that? I certainly see improvement, but man is that frustrating. Their choice to not communicate communicates that either they didn’t hear me, or that they’re too busy to respond.
I’ve come to realize that communicating when communicated to is one of many ways that we show that people matter. Because of this, I’m definitely taking inventory and evaluating how well I choose to communicate with others.