You Cannot Not Communicate
My first ever lesson in communications is also what is the least I can offer to this world, where we are creating multiple modes of connecting with people transgressing all divide, but still there’s so much left unsaid.
The first line of my first ever class in Communications was so simple, that it is etched in my mind.
It is a line, almost every Comms student comes across.
You Cannot Not Communicate.
The teacher went on to beautifully explain further, how the worst punishment for a child is to be asked to sit in a corner, or stand facing a wall, because communication in all its forms comes naturally to us and cutting off that channel only brings discomfort.
Which makes me realise, why some people are so happy to rejoin offices. So happy, to meet people.
We had been distanced by a pandemic, and yet if we honestly reflect, we have all the means to communicate to whoever at whatever moment we choose with various media at our disposal.
The richest man buys one of the most popular social engagement platforms. He wishes to unleash the flight of the Twitter bird.
The second-richest man owns The Wall Street Journal.
Mr. Mukesh Ambani owns Viacom18, Mr. Subhash Chandra’s Essel Group owns Zee even as we know the losses he has incurred due to the business of words.
We have Zuckerberg reinventing communication with the Metaverse.
All forms of learning and expressing, engaging and communicating, are open to us.
And yet, we refrain.
I do not post often. I have a blog and I let it eat virtual dust.
Why, do we punish ourselves so?
I remember a friend telling me, how he could not share his apprehensions with a friend of 10 years.
And probably why he did it with me, was because he had the time and space.
Most importantly, an ear that assured he was listened to, not just heard.
I had to complete some sentences. I had to coax him motherly to say it, and go on saying whatever he had pent up.
But the result was gratifying. He opened up finally to the yaar of his, and even though the Sun did not choose a different direction to rise the next morning — the message was put across, the heart was lighter, the bond became tighter.
That’s the power of words.
That’s the power of not holding back.
There are numerous hurdles. Let me list some of them for you.
“They won’t understand.”
“This won’t make sense.”
“I understand them, why do I need to verbally put across this then?”
“It doesn’t matter.”
And worst, the assumption, that some things are better left unsaid.
The truth is, everyone is communicating. A like or an insight, a GIF or a meme, a scroll past or a light wheeze at a post, we all are consuming and reacting. We have time for communication.
People are scared of how unregulated social media is making society unsafe. Of how a privately-owned platform will give way to hate, misogyny, and all bad, unsafe feelings which a word gone wrong can cause.
But this happens because we are refraining to talk to those who matter. And venting that pent-up frustration to a person who did nothing to cause it.
They just, triggered you.
We just need to slip in that message to those who matter. To those, who we need to talk to. To those, who we want this to be heard or read by.
Because no matter how much you convince yourself nobody is listening and the word doesn’t matter, it does. Verbal communication is much, much better in some cases than an eye-roll or silent judgement, or assumption of distance which manifests into real miscommunication and misunderstanding.
Just say it. Yes, saying it is an art too, the way of putting across your thought matters, but we often stop thinking it’s pointless or the effort isn’t worth it.
If this feels repetitive, know that this is your call to communicate.
Text that friend.
Call the family member.
Catch up with the colleague over tea, coffee or nimbu pani.
Write that mail to your boss.
They will hear you. And even if the stars don’t shine brighter, you will be one step better at unloading the array of thoughts, which will anyways tumble like dominos if you keep lining them up for ‘one fine day’. They will come to know from elsewhere, and the words and effort to communicate will be more. Save yourself the hassle. Invest in communication.
That moment, is now.