Communication is all about moderation

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The more one engage with the daily activities of life, the more one will realise that life is all about moderation. When we exercise, we exercise in moderation. When we eat, we eat in moderation. When we engage in activities of our interest, moderate involvement almost always gives us the most satisfaction.

The same happens when we consider the art of communication, be it in the classroom or the workplace. When there is excessive effort in trying to communicate with someone, it can really be draining on the part of the communicator initiating the effort when the other party is not attuned to communicating at that point in time. 

What this implies in the classroom is that the educationist should take the cue from the students. If some of them are expressing signs of boredom (such as looking at their watches or tapping their feet to the rhythm of their imagined music), I will usually engage them with questions. Many educationists will have opted for some interactive activities. However, I feel that posing questions (relevant to the lesson) to the class has the greater advantage of having the students engage in self-reflection.

Imagine having a class of students playing a game. Subsequently, the teacher will ask them for their thoughts on the process / outcome of the game. From there, they would have learnt something. Having the class engage in some interactive activity does not always enable the student to learn something unless the teacher asks them questions towards the end of the session. I simply cut to the chase and ask them questions directly. It is important to note that this technique will only work if the questions relate to the students’ experiences and that they find the questions engaging and beneficial to them.

Similarly in the office, communication should only be done in moderation. However, it is a bit challenging when moderation is applied in the corporate workplace since there is no benchmark to determine the degree of engagement when it comes to communication. While it is up to the judgment of the educationists to determine the amount of engagement with the class based on their daily experiences with the class, the judgment of one’s direct supervisor takes precedence in the workplace. And it is indeed challenging to assess another’s temperaments as compared to one’s own. This is even more so when another’s temperaments change over time.

So, how much is enough when it comes to communication in the workplace? Should we be talking in the office and how often should communication take place? Should we use communicate entirely by email? Should we email our supervisor or approach her/him in person? It is indeed a question that every one of us has an answer, albeit a different one.

Nevertheless, we have to strike a balance in life, and this includes communication. However, communication may be one of the most challenging fields to tackle when it comes to maintaining a balance between too much and too little.

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