I have actually been complimented a couple of times in the past, on being a good “writer”, whether it’s emails, a Facebook status, whatever. But unless I am in the most comfortable of settings (with just a handful of people), I am a terrible verbal-communicator.
I know what I want to say, but I either try to sugar-coat it too much (in certain situations), or I just start talking faster than my mind moves, and it comes out totally discombobulated.
As a stupid counter-example, a buddy of mine is a DJ in a local club, and is great at what he does. Great on the microphone, at getting the crowd excited and “going”, plays great music, etc. The last guy on earth that you would say “wow, he sounds ‘dumb’”.
But he is a terrible “writer” - I keep waiting for the day that he posts a Facebook status-update, that doesn’t have half the words misspelled, or in which he actually posts a coherent thought that makes sense.
Without debating the pros/cons of Facebook status-updates, etc., (yes, a stupid analogy, but it’s what prompted the question) - where would you put yourself on the verbal/written communication skill-level? 50-50? 60-40 one way or the other? 90-10?
Definitely written. Emails, texts, IMing, etc. It’s all my preferred correspondence, especially when dealing with business and logistics. I’m like another, more susinct, eloquent guy when I write.
Conversations, I have a tendency to daydream, or my mind wanders off on a tangent that may have been dropped into our chat, and before you know it, I have no idea what they were telling me. Also, there seems to be something I pick up on better in conversations in person than over the phone. Most likely body language and such. I always seem to interrupt people mid-sentence (because I always feel like they’re taking forever to say what I already know what they’re getting at), then it becomes one-thousand fold exasperated when I’m talking on the phone, since I can’t see the intent on their face.
To further complicate things, my hearing’s worth shit, so bustling and loud places are frustrating for me with get-togethers and such. Also, cell phones are the bane of my existence, since there always seems to be a bit of a lag and I end up talking over them, or audio gets choppy.
Besides, writing allows me to sort out my thoughts linearly and make sense of what I’m trying to say. And, I like to write.
I prefer written communication, because I can edit it before I hit send and never stutter or say “um” unless I want to. But I’m still a good verbal communicator, too. I got even better at it after getting a job in a call center 3.5 years ago. However, I get *really *nervous when I’m doing any kind of public speaking, and usually flub up (talk too fast, super-dry mouth, shaking hands, shaky voice–stereotypical adrenaline rush). I don’t attribute that to poor communication skills, though, just poor coping skills.
Seriously, I write much better than I speak. I’m at my worst when I’m on the phone – I feel like I cannot communicate at all.
I don’t stammer, but start-stop, double back around, make inadvertent spoonerisms, etc. On the occasion that I speak for more than five sentences without making any errors like this, it’s so unusual and noteworthy that I’ll think, “Wow, I was actually articulate for once!” and feel a little proud of myself. :o
Written, which I thought would be the case for most people however reading some work e-mails around here I see that’s not the case.
Here is a line from a recent one from an engineer with a masters degree:
“Can we get this resolve ASAP, we sure don’t want damage our relationship with XYZ, it there anything you need from me please let me know.”
I thought maybe he struggled with english but talking to him in person he speaks fine.
“Verbal” actually refers to both written and oral communication, though the use of “oral” is falling out of favor for obvious reasons. I’m probably better at written communications, but I do communicate well when I’m speaking.
I don’t stammer, per se, but as I’ve gotten older, I find, more and more, that I can’t remember the word I want to use next. My conversation has become more and more punctuated with long silences, as I fight to remember.
In written communication, this doesn’t show. (For instance, it took me about 20 seconds to access the word “punctuated.”)
Also, of course, in written communication, we have a little more latitude to employ our much-beloved 10-dollar words. In jus’ talkin’, I wouldn’t have used either of the words “latitude” or “employ.”
(And…in writing…we can edit what we wrote! We can go back over it, correct the errors, punch-up the metaphors, clarify, etc. In speaking, you get one chance only.)
But an oddity about me is that I do better in public-speaking situations than in casual conversations or small-talk situations. I run trainings for my job quite often, and I rock those. It’s when I have to shoot from the hip with someone, or small talk, that I’m an inarticulate boob.