I love the Christmas season for more reasons than one! Commercialization aside, this festive period is indeed the most wonderful time of the year for persons like me who are big on family. Importantly too, the Christmas season remains special because it is a time when I get to utilize one of my favourite medium of communication most- Face to Face!
You see with the evolution of Communication, the medium have become wide and varied to include:
- Face to Face communication
- Two way remote communication (Cell phone calls and texts, video calls)
- Written Communication (Letters, Emails, sms)
- Social Media Communication (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linked In et al)
- Electronic Communication (Radio, Television)
and even magazines and billboards-Cue Drake sending Rihanna a Congrats message via Billboard) . Truthfully, these varied media do have a place and numerous functions, yet especially at Christmas nothing beats more personal forms of communication for me.
While I basked in the glory of some quality time over the holidays, it got me thinking about some important communication lessons especially during this time of the year:
1. Medium Matters: Now this may be subjective, but during the festive season I tend to be partial to modes of communication that are sprinkled with a bit of “I gave this some thought”. Call me up and I’ll love that. It makes me feel special and non-generic, video call me even and if all else fails, let me know that what you sent via wats app, text message, email etc was well thought out to the point that I may forget the non-personal nature of the latter medium. So over the festive season and beyond be mindful about the medium you are utilizing and ensure it is appropriate for the persons you are communicating with.
2. Messaging Wins: True to form, irrespective of the medium, during this festive season, the MESSAGING can make or break the communication process. While I have indicated a preference for face to face dialogue and other more personal modes of communication, ultimately it boils down to the message. So even if you have to send a Christmas or new year wish, go easy on the mass message blasts! Truly, if someone is important to you, spare a few minutes to think about and say why this is so. Give it some thought and make it meaningful.
P.S. My phone’s memory hates those image and video heavy greetings that are often recycled and sent by my entire contact list.
3. Know your audience: In line with point 2 above, knowing your audience means you may have to go the time consuming but meaningful route of crafting messages to share with your different audiences. It also means you need to decide on the appropriate medium to share those messages. For example, the text or voice message I can share to my family whats app group is very different from the email I’ll send to clients and colleagues or the phone call I’ll make to my parents. Similarly, the Facebook post I make to general friends is very different from the personalized greetings I may send to closer pals.
3. Feedback Still rules: As highlighted in my post on What is Communication, an integral aspect of the communication process is to be understood. We often discover whether or not we are understood based on the feedback to our messaging. See why I love the more personal mediums! When I talk face to face or place a call to my mother, I am immediately able to pour my emotions into the call. She can see or hear how happy or excited I am. Some of this excitement may be transmitted to her in the process and she is immediately able to respond, saying thanks, giving her own wishes or requesting some additional information. Similarly, When I ask my sister or brother to take x, y, z to the dinner, I rely on their feedback to let me know that my message was received, understood and will be acted upon. Over the festive season, be sure then to have avenues for feedback. If you have to send a wats app message, but note that it was not delivered (phone may be off, person may be without data service), unfortunately, the communication cycle would not have been completed.
4. Listening and Adjusting are critical: Important to the Communication process in the festive season and beyond is the art of listening. Remember communication is a two-way process. In as much as you are open to disseminating your messages, be likewise open to receiving suggestions, hearing from the other party/parties and adjusting the message where necessary for the desired impact.
5. Communicate with Clarity: Whatever the medium, be clear in your form of communication. You wouldn’t send a Russian Message to your English speaking family would you? Not if you intend for them to understand anyway. In the same way, once you know your audience, it will better assist you in crafting your messages. It’s always best to be concise and use non technical words for a wider group (for example friends on Facebook). You are however free to use more industry specific wording when communicating with work colleagues or clients and certainly, utilize familiar lingo/colloquial terms with your friends and loved ones.
Know of other important communication lessons that can be utilized in the festive season and beyond? Share them in our comments section below!
P.S. Christmas has officially cleared the air, but feel free to utilize the tips above when sharing your Happy New Year greetings.
Shanoy Coombs is a Development Communication Consultant in the Latin America and Caribbean region. Are you Social? Connect with Shanoy on twitter via @InspiraShan and learn more about her work via the projects page.