I can no longer leave voicemails without adding in the Voice-to-Text commands that make words into sentences.
I just left a voicemail that went like this:
“Hi [period]. This is Izolda [period]. I had a couple of questions for you [period]. Can you give me a call when you get a chance [comma], please? Thanks [period].”
This faux pas sparked me to ponder the rate at which our communication methods are changing. Not only have the methods with which we communicate changed, but our language is evolving at a tremendous pace. For example, my language has changed to the state where I must consciously remind myself which form of communication I am using in order to express myself appropriately. Why? Because there are so many methods from which to choose.
Let’s say that communication and the various modes of achieving clear, confident communication are a big, luscious pie. When you communicate clearly with someone, you each indulge in a delicious piece of pie. When you don’t communicate clearly, one of you might be thinking you are eating cherry pie, while the other dines on pumpkin.
To make things more challenging, we have more communication modalities than ever before. Each faction of the communication pie has its own ingredients. Each has its own methods of ensuring that we have communicated clearly.
Some of these are the structure and inherent rules of each mode of communication. For example, few of us are going to write sixty-two tweets because we have a long rant to express. For the most part, we all stick to the “140 characters and you’re done with that thought” paradigm.
If we are using Instagram (the photo sharing app), we must snap our photo so that nothing vital is missing out of the square shape the app requires. In fact, our iOS devices now have a “square” photo setting so we will see exactly what will appear in each picture.
Texting has its language with shortcuts, nicknames, and emojis. More new communication methods appear every day and some die out. We have to stay on top of them in order to maintain our skills.
I am fascinated by how we use our written words and how we say our spoken words and how those actions affect our proficiency at communicating. In my case, I was using an amalgam of spoken word to written word. I didn’t stay mindful about which one I was using. However, perhaps, there might just be too many slices of pie from which to choose.
My latest bane, as you can see from the above faux pas, is voice-to-text. Voice-to-text is still relatively new. But, still, I should have paid better attention. Because of the evolution of communication modalities, I like many others, have gotten out of the habit of calling on the phone to actually speak with someone on the other end. Instead, I have gotten too accustomed to speaking into my phone to record my voice and translate it to text. This has become such an ingrained habit that when I had to leave a voicemail, I forgot the modality in which I was operating and left the message as if I had been doing voice-to-text.
Some of this is due to my not being sufficiently mindful. Some of it, I believe, is caused by the vast array of the different formats for communication. Our communication pie more closely resembles a sort of Frankenstein pie. Instead of one chocolate pie, we are communicating via a pie that contains myriad flavors. This pie contains many wedges and each of them is different. So, my Coconut cream pie message might be received by someone who rightly is expecting key lime. We are then inherently asking others to forgive us our trespasses when instead of delivering one flavor of communication, we deliver something else entirely.
Then, we can only hope that the person with whom we’ve just communicated likes some flavor of pie.