Communication is the grease of life. If we fail to communicate, or communicate ineffectually, our relationships suffer, our quality drops and our results don’t meet expectations.

Yet we communicate every day in every way. We have more devices to communicate with then ever and these speed up the process. So, how come ‘we’ are notoriously lousy at it?

Speed is one of the key issues. Emails and texts and phone calls are so quick and easy we often ‘say’ things we don’t mean. No matter how many emoticons we use, email and text have no context or reference to interpret adequately the intent of the sender. And we’re forever in a rush, at least those of us in the cities always seem to be. So we don’t have time to convey meaning much less think about how a person may receive our messsages.

On the other hand, because we feel so pressured these days we end up time poor. After busting your chops at the office all day, sometimes, the last thing you have the energy for is yet another conversation. Ringing or calling in to see family and friends is a struggle. Or time slips by and before you know it it’s weeks and months since you’ve been in contact.And you ownder why you haven’t heard from them.

Then there’s the ‘me’ syndrome. There is an argument that we have become so me-focused that we’re too busy interpreting the world through our filters to think about the impact we may be having on others.

Time. Either master it or become a slave to it and see it rob you of what you value. If communicating with people is important, and it needs to be for a healthy emotional and social life, then schedule it in to your day. If you are a manager, that includes plugging time in your diary at least once a month to have a real discussion with your team members, maybe even over coffee. When you make that time available and use it, give that person your full attention. You can tell when someone isn’t genuine with you, when you can see they are ‘going through the motions’ and plotting what they have to do after they see you. Don’t be known as that person. Give people important to your life and work quality time (I was so trying to not use that term!).

Take time now to jot down the person who first comes to mind when you think of someone you haven’t been communicating enough with lately. Now, commit to contacting that person and schedule it in. You’re on your way to improving the relationships you have!