Effective communication is essential for not just research, but for just about every aspect of one’s professional and personal life. Communication allows for new ideas and inspirations to be transferred from one person to the next and perspectives to be formulated and shifted. Today, I will reflect on the importance of communicating my ideas to the world, as well as how I can communicate effectively and respectfully.
Before writing today’s blog post, I took a second to reflect on communication in my daily life— with my parents, professors, roommates, members of my community, and classmates. I also thought about communication in the world around me—I thought about news anchors explaining the day’s events, the president delivering a speech, the CEO of a company communicating to his/her staff in a meeting, or my friends sharing their viewpoints on social media. Among these different forms of communication, I see a variety of perspectives. One news anchor may have a completely different opinion about a political matter than another, or a completely different opinion than his/her viewer. Someone’s Instagram story regarding a social matter may not perfectly align with my view. My professor may offer a completely different presentation of economic inequality than another professor. But different perspectives should not make communication problematic—they make communication interesting and valuable. This is achieved through respectful communication. Respectful communication means approaching communication as a positive tool to learn, and listening to what others have to share closely. Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” I believe when it comes to communication, listening is just as important as speaking. Being curious and open to new perspectives naturally leads to respectful communication and a progressive society.
Having an appreciation for respectful communication is critical for me as I progress through my final year of college and emerge into the professional world. Whether I find myself working for government in economic policy, or on a completely different path, I will consistently remind myself of the value of respectful communication. Specifically, with my research regarding educational inequality and the switch to remote learning, communication is vital in order to share my passion for this topic and research findings to my peers. Online platforms, like the Pitt Honors Blog, are a valuable resource to communicate what I learn through this project. The blog really feels like a community—it is a place for students to be inspired about their peer’s interests and research ambitions, and communicate their own findings. In general, online platforms are a crucial tool for communicating to a large audience, but it has certainly not always been this way. However, especially today with the switch to remote-everything, it is important to adapt to new forms of communication. I am sure today’s teachers never imagined a day where they would teach students entirely over the internet. But they adapted to a new form of communication for the sake of their students and community. Students have been resilient as well—learning how to effectively communicate to their teachers and peers through online platforms. Adapting for effective communication is especially relevant today (and relevant to my research), considering the current lack of physical interaction.
I believe the key aspects of effective communication are respect and listening, embracing a variety of perspectives and ideas, and adapting to new forms of communication. I will consider these themes as I progress through this project and navigate through my everyday life. I hope this post has inspired you to reflect on communication, and consider what effective communication means to you.