At the time of this writing (I assume everything I write is read by a future species or alien conquistador many years from now, after slumping down on a rock after completing a moderately difficult hike which has made him entirely too exhausted. Prompting him to dramatically wipe his brow, throwing himself off balance and revealing that the rock upon which he rested was just a front for some of my old writings, preserved in some sort of e-papyrus underneath the lid of the faux rock. So I like to give context in terms of time period) there is a global pandemic afoot.
This isn’t a piece about the coronavirus! (I want this to be clear to the future people, as I’m sure they have found copious evidence of writings and documents concerning the 2020 pandemic. I need them to read the full work and not check out early on faulty pretenses).
In this time, however, there is a constant debate about the use of masks to prevent the spread of the virus.
There has been a recent study to show that if two people are in contact, let’s call them person A and person B, and person A has the virus whilst person B does not, if person A wears a mask and person B does not, it reduces the risk of transmission by a certain percent. If person A does not wear a mask, but person B does, it reduces the risk of transmission by a smaller percentage than the first scenario, but is still effective. If both parties wear masks, the transmission rate is lower than in both of the first two scenarios. To sum up:
- Person A (has virus, wears mask)+ Person B (no virus, no mask)=effective
- Person A (has virus, no mask)+ Person B (no virus, wears mask)=effective
- Person A (has virus, wears mask)+ Person B (no virus, wears mask=very effective
- Person A (has virus, no mask)+ Person B (no virus, no mask)=ineffective
But if you want a discussion on coronavirus or mask use you’ve come to the wrong blog post today. Do a quick google search (or yell into the time vault, future peeps) if you want more info on that topic.
We are going to use the above principle in today’s post to talk again about communication. Specifically, unpleasant communication.
Here is my contention: it is all of our responsibility to communicate well, both in listening and speaking. If everyone is listening well and making good points, our conversations will be infinitely better. However, there are some situations where people can’t communicate well. Let’s say we have two people: Ignatius and Caroline Rebar. Ignatius HATES vegan tacos and Caroline Rebar LOVES vegan tacos.
Now if Ignatius and Caroline Rebar both listen to each other well, allow each other to make their points about why they feel the way they do about vegan tacos, in all likelihood they will find some common ground and probably be laughing and in good spirits after the conversation.
If, however, Ignatius is having a horrible day and just wants to take out his frustration by not using good communication skills, and Caroline Rebar continues to use good communication skills, they may be able to come to, a slightly less effective, but admittedly good conclusion to their conversation by the end.
The reverse could be true if Caroline Rebar is having a horrible day.
But if neither of them uses good communication skills, the outcome could be horrendous. They could resort to physical violence, name calling, overall ineffective communication skills that may lead to bridges being burned and feelings hurt beyond repair. Leading to damaged communication lines and one or both of them doubling down on their position just to spite the other person, when a good conversation may have led them to concede some points to the other side.
To sum up:
- Ignatius (good mood, good communication)+ Caroline Rebar (good mood, good communication)= Good outcome
- Ignatius (bad mood, bad communication)+ Caroline Rebar (good mood, good communication)= Ok outcome
- Reverse of parties from scenario 2= Ok outcome
- Ignatius (bad mood, bad communication)+ Caroline Rebar (bad mood, bad communication)=DANGER
Now let’s tie this all together with a nice, neat bow, shall we gang?
Some people can’t wear masks for various reasons. Some people can’t communicate well for various reasons. But many people can do both of those things and choose not to do so. If you believe that it is our duty to wear masks to protect ourselves and each other, then you may need to use your communication skills and your mask wearing in tandem to make your point. If you have strong opinions on any issue, make sure you are using good communication skills to achieve the best outcome possible, regardless of what the other party does in reply. And just because the person you’re trying to talk to is a bad communicator, that doesn’t mean you have to be.