What’s The Difference Between Communication And Just Passing Along Information?

I serve as vice-chair on an international nonprofit board. Our chair is passionate about her work and about staying in contact with board members around the world. If she has a weakness, however, it’s that she assumed that sending emails to board members meant she has actually communicated with them.

“I can’t understand why he didn’t get the message. I was so careful about crafting a clear email that outlined all the facts.”

We have had some long discussions lately about the difference between passing along information and actually communicating a message.

The problem, of course, is not in her intent. The problem is that texting and emails are great ways to pass along information. They are just a lousy way to communicate. I’m all for technology, but it is critical to understand the limitations.

To communicate you need conversation and dialogue. Even the phone can be limiting when it comes reading body language as a response to a message.

If you aren’t allowing time for reactions, questions, open dialogue, clarification, and a space for reflection, then all you are doing is passing along information. You aren’t communicating.

What have you learned about what it takes to communicate? What, for you, is the difference between passing along information and communication?

photo credit: Love you to (license)