I’m on a mission – Mission Communication! Let me explain…
I went to see my optician last week. “I thought we were talking about talking?” I hear you ask in confusion, well it is relevant, I assure you, stay with me!
So, the opticians, with a whole centre full of new and young assistant staff who have energy and seem sweet enough, but I really wanted to offer them voice coaching on the spot!
I needed my glasses though so I was as patient as I could be with the several visits and calls I needed to make during the week.
Struggling to communicate
With the assistant I saw ( I didn’t need to see an actual optician at this stage) I was surprised she had been able to interview well enough for the role as she was struggling to communicate with me on a basic level.
It seemed that she was so nervous that she was unable to listen to anything I was asking for and it was up to me to take her through things a few times before we made any progress. I think she probably knew what she was doing in reality but the communication was so poor that it resulted in a lack of confidence on my part.
Customer callback or customer confusion?
Whilst I was waiting for yet another setback before I could see clearly again, I overheard another employee leaving a voicemail for a customer on the phone. She was wearing a mask of course which would not have helped vocal projection but the message was so muffled, quiet, lacking in inflection, or any kind of emotion that would give an idea of intention, that I found myself staring at her in desperation.
There was no way the person who listened to that message would know who was calling or why. She caught me staring, I looked away and wondered how long it would take me to bring out her voice so she could be understood.
I wondered how much was due to the individual, the mask, the lockdown, the environment or years of looking down into a phone that is the world of a millennial.
I fear we are losing our communication skills
I fear this is possibly the most judgemental blog I have ever written but I feel so strongly about how we are losing the communication skills meant for human beings. It isn’t just a young person dilemma, of course, or even a pandemic one.
However, the art of communication with so much text speak and gif form where we say ‘lmao’ when we are merely smiling a little, if that, or show pictures of shocked faces, do we actually know how to sound shocked these days? Do we know how to say the word “amazing!” and really mean it? And do we know how to communicate clearly with a customer in an optician so that she knows she is going to get the right glasses?
Let’s keep talking, keep eye contact, keep letting each other know that we are here for each other, keep practising our vocal warm-up and if you know someone who needs to raise their communication, then send them my way as I am on a mission – Mission Communication!