…can go awry. I went into a meeting today where the sole purpose of the main participants was to get to the bottom of some communication issues. Even though these people identified their key stumbling blocks, those very same issues–the ones already acknowledged, mind you–hampered their discussion of solving them. They WANTED to solve them. They were TRYING to solve them. Because the issues themselves involved how they talked to each other, they couldn’t talk about talking about them effectively. What a giant conundrum.
What’s the answer?
This is a tough situation. Ultimately, I think it’s going to take brutal honesty and impartial, if informal, mediation. The problem words and phrases were so palpable to me that I could almost see them as people’s tongues flung them into the room. Unfortunately, I had an strong affiliation with one of the people involved, so as much as I wanted to mediate (and you can be certain that I did what I could!), I could not and should not have been considered impartial.
If there’s a moral to this story, it is that real life is tough; don’t give up working hard to communicate. I firmly believe in talking smarter, not louder. I think honest, direct communication is the only clear path, even when ambient noise surrounding our conversations distorts our best, purest efforts. I promise you’ll be better off than if you don’t try at all.