Specific Communication: A Mandatory Skill?

pointless overthinking specific communication
Drawing by Adrian Serghie

Most of us know how to speak, but do most of us know how to express what we want to express? Along my journey I witnessed people talking for hours but saying almost nothing and it made me wonder what the whole purpose of that is and how it’s affecting our communication skills.

Talking for the sake of… talking

It seems that we sometimes talk just for talking. There is no meaning in that and there is no purpose. Everything is the same before and after the talk. It’s just a way to eliminate some extra energy or to vent in such a way that nobody realizes we’re venting.

The thing is that doing it over and over again tends to develop a habit of saying something else than what we intended. This  can be an issue especially when it comes to really trying to say something specific. I’ll give you an example based on real events: me and one friend had to go meet with someone else in a different city. My friend knew that person, but we didn’t knew the city. My friend talked to that person to establish a meeting and after a 10 minutes talk they only established the hour when we were going to meet. I was driving and we had to meet that person which was also driving so we can follow him to the destination. But as I said, they only established the hour. No location. And we didn’t know how that car looked like. We didn’t even knew what was the license plate or the color. This wouldn’t necessarily have been a problem if the whole purpose of that call wasn’t to establish these things.

Being specific is efficient

This is what I mean with specific talking. I’m not even referring to communication because that implies listening and understanding and it can be tricky. But when we don’t even say what we wanted to say in the first place, it’s useless talking and the time flies for nothing. When there is time, there is no problem, but what if it’s a more serious situation? What if some important things are not told because the teller cannot be specific in his/her speech? What if some accidents happen because someone is not capable of articulating some coordinates so the driver knows the direction of where he/she should be heading?

In my opinion, specific talking is a mandatory skill because it’s efficient. It’s not based on the assumption that the others will get what we tried to say because they won’t. At least, not every time. Sometimes it’s better to over-deliver information instead of under-delivering. It might form a very helpful habit.

What do you think? Is specific talking a mandatory skill?

18 thoughts on “Specific Communication: A Mandatory Skill?

  1. Specific communication is very much effective . Its effectiveness depends on the skill of the sender. It depends on how well he sends the specific message to the receiver and whether the receiver receives it in undistorted form. Only then the communication will be effective.
    Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful post.

  2. You know, not to quibble, but it seems to me that much of talking is actually social talking and it may be many different words, but what they are really saying is, “yes, yes, I’m here, you’re here, we’re friends … ” on and on. And that’s not really surprising. Not everyone wants to be an Einstein or Nietzsche.

  3. One of my biggest pet peeves anymore. In my opinion it’s a combination of short attention spans (esp with listeners / readers) and forces out there working against clear, concise communication. Politicians, lawyers and the media dance around the truth, try to imply things that may not be accurate and generally avoid any responsibility for their words. Even Neuro-Linguistic Programming has devotees that focus on being vague and evasive in one’s words.

    I remember when integrity and saying what you meant used to be considered virtues.

      1. Realistically, we know they still are with some people. I sadly think it’ll take a major societal upheaval for them to become truly mainstream again. Too much of Western society today reminds me of the Roman Empire right before it’s collapse

  4. Maybe specific communication is more about being prepared. By preparing beforehand, you already know what specific points you have to hit and will result in less rambling to get to your point.

  5. Talking for the sake of talking… Sounds like people I know. When I want to address the problem though, they only listen without think about it. It’s like they listen only to talk about. And when I finally think about they say, I realize everything they say is basically the same, in different wordings…

  6. Specific communication is very important, especially in a time when you don’t have all the time for social talking. Sometimes however, you need to establish the social part of talking in order to get someone to listen to specific or engage in specific communication. It’s about being comfortable listening to someone who isn’t always saying things you want to hear, but need to.

  7. I wish it were mandatory! The number of times my husband has said one thing, but in his mind has been perfectly clear about the details is beyond my ability to count. I still adore him, but get very tired of needing to ask him specific questions to fill in the blanks. We’re both guilty of the talking in circles, something that I would like to end. We’re good with being quiet with one another, why fill in space that doesn’t need filling?

  8. I often think of Osmo Wiio’s “Laws of Communication” when I am working with students on communicating more effectively. Wiio had several rules, but the ones that are pertinent to your question are 1. Communication usually fails, except by accident,; & 4: The more we communicate, the worse communication succeeds. I believe specific (precise) communication leaves less room for being misunderstood and a lower chance of ambiguity.

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