Monday, August 22, 2011

Acronyms and Communication

It seems every industry these days is using acronyms. While this may be great and shorten what has to be written it can get confusing when the same acronyms have different definitions in different industries and even worse when it occurs within the same industry. Industries also seem to generate acronyms peculiar to their specific industry. If you hadn’t figured it out I am no fond of acronyms, I understand they have their place, but really when there are so many of them that you have to research them before you know what someone is talking about they are more of a hindrance than a help.

It is even more of an issue in personal communication.  The acronym phenomenon has been made worse with the invention of texting, as it has seeped into our personal lives not just business. Don’t get me wrong texting is convenient and make quick updates between people a lot easier. However, so much of the personal communication and the art of communication have been lost or is dying. Losing those all important interpersonal communication skills or never learning them in the first place, as is the case with the next generation, is having hidden side effects on us all.

We are losing out on the personal connections that help us thrive as a people. Communities are not being built; we consider work friendships to be real friendships versus acquaintances’ (not always the case but more often than not this is the case). Some people forget to take the time to stop, slow down and remember that face to face conversations are important for healthy relationship's.

Misunderstandings happen more frequently than not because we have become accustomed to relaying everything in 160 characters or less via text and it has spilled over into our spoken communications. So instead of having a full thoughtful conversation, we have become short with our responses. Humans need that personal interaction; it is part of genetic makeup, a survival trait if you will.

“It takes a village to raise a child.”

While I don’t remember the author of this quote it sums up my point perfectly. A group is needed to raise a child; this means communication is taking place constantly. Conversations are happening, listening is happening and is the most important element in communication. Taking the time to listen to what is being said; asking questions to clarify is an important aspect of communication in our society.  Communication is an irreplaceable commodity be personal or business in nature.  One that we should take great care in not only preserving but also utilizing and leave the acronyms and shorthand where they are most effective and user friendly, the business realm when appropriate.

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