For long I’d wanted to do an article on communication, but anytime I consider the broadness of the subject, I feel discouraged. The question I continuously asked myself was, ‘where do I begin?’ Communication is older than man, and far wider than man’s imagination; that is why it is difficult for man to grasp the entirety of its nucleus. Communication makes a man; it also destroys a man. Today, we recite quotes spoken by men that died more than a hundred years ago. These men have become like gods to us, all because they were able to juggle words and weaved them in patterns that made them today’s treasurable apparels. So, communication made them.
There are also those that, instead of communication, making, maimed. Due to disrespect for words and its patterns, they died, maybe not naturally, but their legacies were dumped in the recycling centres and incinerated without delay; all because of communication default.
In this article, my interest isn’t in words but attitude. Forming the wrong communication attitude is as bad as using the wrong words. People think that communication is all about verbal and non-verbal, unknown to many that habits have become communication associates. With the advent of superfast internet broadband and more sophisticated mobile devices such as mobile phones and tablets, bad habits have replaced ignorance. As a communication conscious person, I have made a few enemies because of my insistence on displaying the right attitudes. What are the prevalent wrong communication habits identifiable in a superfast internet broadband age?
1. Ignoring ‘No Caller I.D’ phone calls: one day, I was with a friend and his phone rang; he picked it up and refused answering. I asked why? He said it was a No caller I.D. I said, ‘so what?’ He said he doesn’t pick a No caller I.D calls. ‘What a habit?’ I said to myself. There are certain top organisations that don’t reveal their numbers especially if they want to communicate certain vital information to the receiver. If you miss a huge privilege on the premise of not answering No Caller I.D phone calls, who would you blame? Before telephone technology was improved, we had the winding type of receivers; after that came the ones with buttons, but none of them, apart from the ability to transmit sounds, had the ability of transmitting texts. Then, we were at least grateful that we had a device that could make us speak to people thousands of miles away. We were never bothered whether we knew who the incoming caller was or not. Today, technology has offered us multiple alternatives, but in the alternatives, we have also imbibed wrong habits.
2. Another wrong communication habit I have discovered is the unwillingness to return a missed call. I do find that disrespectful. A couple of months ago, I was downloading a software on my mobile phone, and at the same time was in a hurry to quickly go somewhere. So, I left the phone at home. When I came back, I saw a missed call with an unknown number. I quickly called back. It was an organisation that I’ve been waiting for, for months to help me deal with a specific issue. It was good news! If I had decided to ignore, who knows, maybe, they may not get back to me. It is ethical to return a call; it is a sign of respect too, especially when you don’t know who the caller is. Yes, you can avoid nuisance callers and time wasters, but if it is an unregistered number, give it the benefit of a doubt, or else, you might end up missing a huge privilege.
3. How do you respond to a call when you pick up your phone? Arrogance is brutish in response, or maybe, ignorance is too. It is absurd to pick up an incoming call by responding with, ‘who is this?’ That is first class rudeness! ‘Who is this?’ is a reflection of egocentrism, especially when a deep and audible tone is used. Some people are hooked on ‘who is this?’ like a drug. A simple ‘Hello’ is far better than ‘who is this?’ ‘Hello’ is a universal language, and nobody gets offended by it. Save your image by the way you respond to calls; change your tactics. Your response portrays your perception of good customer service. You don’t need to be on the checkout to exercise ethical customer service acumen. Remember that you’re a brand; you may not be selling anything, but you’re selling yourself.
4. The modern day mobile phones have programmable alerts. You can programme your phone to alert you when a text message comes in. Some people, if not most, actually set text message alerts on their phones. The only problem is that no matter how they get alerted, they’re never on the alert. It does not cost a penny to take a look at your handset when prompted by the alert. You never can tell who is sending the text; he or she may be sending invaluable information that will help you reposition or deal with an urgent issue. A quick look at the phone can make a huge difference in the world. Some people have avoided disasters by simply looking at their phones to see who is sending a message. Don’t let your personal idiosyncrasies affect the totality of your world.
Binning certain habits or indifference to communication is advantageous first, to you, and second, to those around you and the world in general. If you have a wrong attitude towards communication, change it. Changing your attitude costs less than the consequences of letting it stay. We live in a communication world; get used to it!