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Text Speak & the Rapid Decline in Basic Communication Skills

Posted by Jody Urquhart on Thu, May 10, 2012 @ 06:59 PM

motivational speaker for healthcare conferenceSitting across from my friend Sasha, I ask her a question and she immediately responds.

Face to face is still the simplest, most conflict free form of communication. It seems like today digital communication like email, text or Instant messaging has the same expectation for immediate response.

The problem is we all have different digital communication patterns, and conflict results:


Some people immediately delete and won't even listen to a voicemail message. Instead they see who called and just call the person back. Assumptions are made that they listened to the voicemail message; important information is not repeated, and chaos unfolds.

In a motivational talk I often tell the story how my sister told me for years she never listened to my voicemail messages, she deletes them instantly and just resolves to call me back( if I knew this 3 years ago!).

Text & Instant Messaging:

Some people will only communicate via text messaging. They don't pick up their phone messages or email regularly because they know that anyone important- will text them.

Assumptions are also made that when you Text or IM someone they will respond immediately. Other text users are only periodic or they may not text message at all. If you lose your cell phone you lose your lifeline to the world.

Face book, LinkedIn and Twitter:

Avid social network users have taken communication to another level. Communicating en mass to all their followers and assuming they get the message.

Personally I don't subscribe to email alerts or read updates on face book. As a result I often hear people say, but I told you about it on face book- and I know the culprit of the miscommunication.

I was a inspirational speaker for a healthcare conference last May where we divulged some very interesting ideas of how digital messaging is creating a rapid decline in basic communication skills.

Formal communication skills are pushed to the wayside as text speak takes over. Verbal communication skills decline as people rush to abbreviate, cut out and massacre the English language to quickly get a message across.

Rapid communication competes with parents and teachers ability to influence a childs language skills.

The other inspirational speaker for the healthcare conference suggested in her motivational talk that the persona people have online is often very different from what you experience face to face. Touched up photos, borrowed clich√© phrases from a quick google search, and famous people who follow on Twitter-  all create a false personae that begs the question, who are you?

Communication today is about speed and immediate return and has facilitated a rapid decline in social etiquette and communication skills.

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Tags: inspirational speaker for a healthcare conference, motivational talk, Text Speak, Digital communication skills

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