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Are you a good communicator?

It is 4’Oclock

One of my favorite non-sequitur jokes is to respond to anyone that if they are a good communicator or if I have understood what they are saying is to respond with current time.

The Joke is the implication that the person I am speaking is a poor communicator since I mistakenly believed the request was for the current time.

All humor aside: are we listening? are we reading? Recently I needed to coordinate an event with a colleague and sent a detailed lists of available times. This person then proceeded to choose times that were not in the list.

  1. This means I am a poor communicator and could have done a better job of communicating
  2. This means this person is busy and does not have the time necessary to “read” but to merely skim
  3. This means this person wants to help and wants to be involved but needs assistance

Not what you were expecting? You expected me to chide the person. No, we must always look to ourselves first. With that said. Let’s look at this conversation from the point of two people who are each busy. How would the average busy person feel if the person received the same email reply I did (with dates explicitly chosen to ignore the requirements)

The person may feel

  1. Undervalued
  2. Not Respected
  3. Offended
  4. Frustrated
  5. Angry

The take-away: let’s always examine ourselves first when we take bring in negative intent to a conversation. Let’s examine every where we could have failed first and then act and proactively salvage any relationship. Why? Why not? The act of being a great leader, a great manager, and a master communicator is in building amazing relationships. People are rarely offended when you apologize but think how a person feels when you piss them off and then don’t care enough to follow-up?

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