Silence is golden

I was in an unusual position recently and one that I don’t often face – when I was taking a short flight. This is not one of my favourite things travelling across the sea on a small and noisy aeroplane. In a bid to keep people from thinking about what they were going through the company providing the flight used silent movies to entertain passengers. It appeared that these were used because the noise of the flight would not have allowed anyone to hear audio from films.

So what does this have to do with communication? It made me think about the world when silent movies were in their heyday. The actors had a difficult task in having to use their movements and body language to explain what was taking place. It required them to exaggerate the movements to make what they were doing as clear as possible. No silent movie would have succeeded if the viewer couldn’t instantly understand what was happening.

The same has to be true of communication for companies or organisations. If the communication is not clear and easy to understand then it will surely fail. The circumstances may be different today but with the pace of modern life there is not enough time for people to have to try to understand what people are trying to say. The communication has to be clear. Whether it is external or internal, using traditional media or social media, the situation is the same you have to make your message absolutely obvious.

I started to question whether I am doing that in my day-to-day work. Am I being as clear as Buster Keaton was in the silent movie I watched? Would the communication stand up to scrutiny about its clarity? While it is something that I aspire to achieve I can’t say I do it all the time. But it is something that I now have at the forefront of my thoughts when I am considering a communication plan or writing any material. And if the sound was off would your communication stand up to the test?


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