Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Power of the Written Word

We all have that little something that we’re passionate about. For me, that is communication. You’d think with the advent of modern technology such things as laptops, emails, and so on, would make the life of a communicator a bit of a breeze. Far from it.

Most of human communication comes from our body language. Without it, the recipient of our words doesn’t get the gist of whether we’re happy, sad, joyful, thoughtful, apprehensive, joking and so forth.

I hate emails. I despise them as a form of communication. Sure, they’re quick. And yes, you can keep in touch with people from all over the world without relying on Royal Mail or planes/ships to carry your precious words, but there is SO MUCH missing from the message that relationships can be tarnished. Many people have fallen out over a wrongly worded (but more accurately, wrongly interpreted) message.

When we receive a communication, we bring ‘baggage’ to it so that regardless of what the sender was implying, the recipient will see the message through their own eyes (pain/agenda).

I remember in 2001, a dear friend phoning me from Latin America and asking me if I had email. ‘I don’t need email,’ I laughed. A year later I was editing and publishing The Mother magazine, and emails were part of my daily life. At first, it was fun. Now, it’s a drag.

Two days away from my inbox brings me a karmic load for daring to be away from a computer for so long. The inbox groans and heaves with so much correspondence all demanding my immediate reply. It gets to the point that I can’t even log onto Facebook for a quick nosey at what my friends are up to without feeling huge guilt for knowing there are dozens of emails waving their little red flags up at me.

There is always the dilemma of a box full of emails: who to read first? That one from a dear friend travelling the world or the one querying a subscription? The one from a friend who is struggling or the one wanting advice about their teething toddler?

Where possible, I try and reply to emails first thing in my day when I’m well rested. The day brings so much my way through family, friends, strangers, and all their needs, that I find it best to steer away from written communication at the end of the day when I’m tired (or feeling particularly hormonal!).

I love the written word, and take great care to ensure that I communicate as clearly as I can. What I have learnt, though, over the years, is that there is no such thing as perfect communication. We can never have ‘control’ over how someone perceives our message. The best we can ever hope for is to write from the heart, and to always come from a place of love.

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