Highway to the Moon Postmortem – What I Learned: Interpersonal Communication Skills

We all reach a point in our lives where we must learn how to communicate effectively with others. This is realized when communication fails, and we must choose to either overcome this failure, or flee from it. It happens early in life, when we first learn to speak, and a little later, when we learn to read and write. However, as we get older, we must learn not only general communication techniques, but how to apply them between each other and in personal ways.

Everyone is different, and everyone understands the world from their own perspective. This flavors communication from the general perspective – large scale concepts and cultural background, language spoken, idioms, etcetera – to the small – primarily connotation, also things like vocabulary and word choice. This is further complicated by each individual’s temperament, sense of humor, sensitivity, and values.

The point I am getting at is this: Effectively communicating with other people is very difficult, and mishaps in communication will happen. We must be ready for them. For example, to effectively do what someone asks me to do, I must first make sure that I understand the request properly. I must be willing to ask questions, and to seek clarification. But I must also be ready to answer questions and provide clarification. Communication does not just happen in one direction.

There is a strength of relationship that can develop over the course of interacting with someone, and part of what can cause a relationship to break is an unwillingness to improve communication with the other individual by understanding what is necessary to facilitate the effective transference of information. Additionally, there must be respect for how the other person communicates.

I learned a great deal about communication over the course of my time working on this project. I learned that it is important to ask for clarity to make sure I understand what is trying to be conveyed so that communication is successful. I learned to be respectful of how the other person communicates. I learned how to be humble, and to seek not my own cleverness, but rather to make it clear what my motivations and desires fully are. Learning these things has made me a more effective teammate, and I feel that it has also made me a better friend.

Thank you for reading this more personal post. May you have the strength to make it through failures in communication and to build strong, lasting relationships.

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