Communication, in itself, is a form of expression… communication between two people – well, that is an art! I think people tend to underestimate how important effective communication is, regardless of the topic, in ensuring understanding between all those involved.
At times, speaking to people can be challenging for a myriad of reasons. Layer on a topic sensitive in nature or frame the conversation around a tense situation, and suddenly your intent of that straightforward talk doesn’t play out as you originally thought.
So, what’s the best way to have this “type” conversation?
That’s where the concept of “Facetime” comes in. Now, I’m not here promoting an Apple product but I do want to express my thanks to Apple for making the concept of Facetime part of our daily digital lives. We take ordinary communication to a whole new level by not only being able to talk to, but also see the other person, we are communicating with. We are able to witness their facial expressions to really understand how they are responding to the things we are saying to them. We come to learn between direct and indirect responses, their real understanding of our message.
Let’s say you are the CEO of a prominent high tech firm… let’s call it Wahoo! And, you were brought in to turn things around. Generally speaking, you were not highly regarded as a people person but, the truth is, you weren’t recruited for a popularity contest – you were brought it to shake things up and get the company back on track. Time goes by, your new strategic plan has realized minimal impact, and the board of directors finally decides that having you at the helm isn’t working anymore. Consequently, a decision is made to terminate your employment (don’t worry – you were smart and negotiated a “golden parachute“).
What would be the best way to handle delivering this message? Should a member of the board just pick up the phone and say, “thanks for coming out – you’re fired!” Or, should the board member, responsible for delivering the news, schedule time to meet with you in person to discuss the situation and deliver the board’s message. Your gut knows the answer!
Remember – it’s very easy for people to be “tough” over e-mail, phone, or other forms of non-personal types of communication. But, when you have two people face-to-face, it’s very hard to be tough because, as I believe, people are generally good and don’t want to hurt others. Therefore, their willingness and desire to be more receptive and compassionate in that situation is paramount. Granted – you do have some jerks who don’t care but I don’t think that constitutes most people.
The next time you find yourself in a situation where you need to discuss something that you believe is important, make the effort to schedule time with that person you want to discuss the topic with, face to face (in person or by leveraging technology). For the record, I’m not guaranteeing that the meeting will go the way you want – the point here is that sensitive topics require direct communication and you cannot get any more direct than sitting across from someone and expressing your views.
To your continued success…