From Hilltops Council – Joanne Mackay

Written by: Joanne Mackay

Joanne Mackay
Councillor Joanne Mackay

Communication - choose your weapons carefully. Information shared between Council and the community is critical to the machinations of Council and as a result I have found myself considering the concepts of what makes ‘good communication’.

Communication is one of the most important of all life skills. It enables us to pass on ideas and concepts to others and to understand what is said to us, so we can listen and take action.

In today’s world we have various forms of communicating; face to face, text, email, written forms and social media.

My curiosity led me to a number of different studies conducted around the use of social media and the idea of it hindering communication instead of enhancing it. One study suggested people who spend more time on social media than communicating face to face were usually more depressed, negative and less social. They experienced increased feelings of depression, isolation and a decrease in general wellbeing.

Communication is complex, as it requires an element of success.

In face to face communication the role of ‘sender and receiver’ move back and forth between people, not just through words but in subtle ways through eye contact, tone, general body language, where and how we stand or sit and even our scent. The foundation of this interaction is mutual respect.

The one dimensional application of social media enables us to write and publish our ideas online without the added nuances of being ‘face to face’. It is up to the reader to understand through words alone, the message and its meaning.

Effective communication involves minimising potential misunderstanding and overcoming barriers at each stage of the process. We need to pay close attention to feedback, which is really the only way to assess whether the message has been understood. If the outcome of the interaction is misunderstood, the intention of the communication has been lost.

In effect communicating on social media has its limitations. There is no obligation on the receiver to understand or respond and in turn there is no way to measure its success.

Good communication is the bridge between confusion and clarity. Councillor Jo Mackay

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