I cannot tell you how important communication is. Then why write this, right? Because with an introductory sentence like that, aren't I really going to launch into trying to talk about the importance of communication? Why yes, yes, I am. And I know that most of you know that communication is important. But even though we all know how important it is, does that mean that we communicate effectively? Do people know what I am trying to say?
(I'd like to think that my readership does know what I'm trying to say and that even if it takes me 1500 words to say something, I eventually comunicate effectively. Feel free to tell me otherwise.)
But here's why communication is important:
Exhibit 1: You tell your daughters to come home after school. They say they will. Then, after school, they run into a friend of theirs who says that the plan for them isn't to go home after school, it is to go to the library. If you've communicated effectively in the morning to your daughters, they will do one of two things. One, they will call you and confirm the plan. Or two, they will listen to what you said and just come home. Either one is fine, and the choice might depend on whether or not your daughters have a cell phone. Because pay phones are non-existent these days and kids don't tend to think to call from the front of office of the school. Had communication not been dealt with effectively, your daughters might have gone to the library and you might not have known where they were. Not good, right?
Exhibit 2: You tell your husband that you have to work in the evening and he needs to be home to take care of the kids. In your haste, you assume that your husband understands that taking care of the kids means feeding the kids. After all, you do work in the evening. Dinnertime is in the evening. If you've communicated effectively, your husband not only gives the kids dinner, but also a bath, a snack, and tucks them into bed. If you haven't mastered the concept of communication, you tease your husband mercilessly about the time he forgot to give the kids dinner. But really, the only bad thing was, the kids didn't eat.
Exhibit 3: You tell your coworker when the project is due, and that you both need to work on it, independently and together, in order to get it done on time. If you've communicated effectively, then you both schedule a time to work on said project, and most likely, you find time during your own day to get some of the project done as well. The project gets accomplished, with very little fanfare and few tantrums, and your boss is happy. If, however, communication is a problem, your co-worker says, Yes! Let's do it! but then never follows up on your attempts to meet. You end up doing the work, and your boss, thinking it was a group project, beams at your ability to work together.
Exhibit 4: You tell your husband that you're headed up to bed and ask if he wants the light to stay on, or if you should shut it off. He says that the light can stay on. You head up to bed, wait for him, fall asleep before he gets there, and wake up the next morning. Had you communicated effectively, you might have hinted to him that "I'm heading up to bed" means, "the kids are all asleep and it's the one day of the month that I'm not tired." Even thick-headed men should understand the meaning behind something like that. But had you communicated even more effectively, you'd have shut the light off, grabbed your husband by the hand, and led him upstairs. Or even better, jumped him in the family room.
(These examples, as always, are not completely rooted in my life. I am a writer [yes, I just called myself that!] and take creative liberties when I think they are needed. Plus, I have a bad cold, and I have no desire to have anyone in my personal space at the moment, nor do I have the energy to for any extracurricular activities. Did I communicate that effectively?)