Southern style by Randall Franks

Communication is the key to relationships

Communication is defined as the exchange of thoughts, messages or information whether by speech, signals, writing, or behavior.

Most of us begin this process from the first time we point at something to indicate we want it. After we slowly master “Mama” and “Dada,” we eventually grow our vocabulary and with the right training we become equipped for life.

Over time we gain experience and add to the tools that help us establish the ability to in some cases to communicate clearly with a minimal amount of effort.

I have noticed lately more people tend to communicate with their thumbs than their mouths. Some are pretty proficient at it and, unfortunately, its shorthand language.

I have been told that in government leadership conferences one of the greatest issues faced for economic development is the lack of employees who are able communicate well with others and lack in soft skills such as knowing how to dress, act, conduct themselves, etc.

But the largest issue is simply being able to properly conduct a face to face or phone to phone conversation with a customer, co-worker or supervisor. Even those who process all the skills have trouble communicating.

Have you ever found yourself in the midst of a misunderstanding? I recently discovered that even those who read and speak well can become embroiled with a lack of communication.

Sometimes, as we become friends or family, we rely on things unspoken or assumed depending that nothing else needs to be said. To our chagrin later we find we have misread the situation or that our assumptions were mistaken. From such occurrences, hurt, anger, and if serious enough, frustration, can create a spiral effect to make actions and decisions worse.

I hope if you find yourself in one of these circumstances you will take a moment and look at the basis for your concerns then ask the other person to sit down and talk about it. Cleat up the misunderstanding and move on. Don’t let a small hiccup turn into a much larger issue that impacts your relationships.

We depend on those that we know and love to create the stability in our lives. Let’s work to foster the same for them. Learn to communicate, share and treat each other with respect no matter the form of communication. The world will be the better for your efforts.

(Randall Franks is an award winning musician, singer and actor. He is best known for his role as “Officer Randy Goode” on TV’s “In the Heat of the Night” now on WGN America. His latest CD release, “Mississippi Moon,” is on Crimson Records. He is a member of the Independent Country Music Hall of Fame. His latest book is “Encouragers I: Finding the Light.” He is a syndicated columnist for and can be reached at

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