“The Art of Communication.” Though it’s a common enough phrase, I don’t think we often give it its due. We don’t value it for what it’s really saying.
And the reason we often ignore it is simple: because we’re always communicating. We communicate hundreds of times every day. And because we’re doing it all the time, we settle into the view that it’s just a thing that we do. A thing that we can do. A thing that’s natural. Ultimately, a thing we even think we’re GOOD at. And if there is any problem, it’s gotta be their fault. *
What that familiarity hides is that communication is hard. That it is, very much, an art. And as such it is a skill at which we can work on and develop and can always do better at.
Further, that it’s an art also points to the fact that there’s no one way to do it – quite the contrary, there are not only many ways to do it, but many ways we need to do it, for every situation, and every person we’re communicating with, is a different canvas. Just because we may have it down with one person or group, doesn’t mean we’ve figured it out.
Heck, even within that group things can shift and before we know it we’re back to misunderstandingville.
It’s all an art, something we can practice and develop and forever grow. And when we’re engaged with it we can bring our listening and mindfulness to it so that we can dance in the moment to create and communicate.
Because, at the end of it all, we want to share, we want to be heard, we want to be understood, and we want to connect.
* One of my favourite expressions/examples of all times regarding this is this XKCD comic I spoke about here, for which the caption says “Anyone who says they are great at communicating but “people are bad at listening” is confused at how communication works.”