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Failure To Communicate? - Does society suffer from a failure to communicate? Have we forgotten how?


INTRODUCTION:


Once again, I apologize that this week is not a video blog post, as it is the second Monday of the month. My schedule has been quite full this past month and should return to normal shortly. Don't forget, July 3rd. is on a Monday evening this year. Therefore, there will be no blog post on July 3rd. My next video blog post will be on July 10th. Thank you for understanding.


Tonight's topic results from a particular email I received from Donald in Texas. I have received emails asking me to discuss people's communication ability, but Donald's email raised my attention. I will not get into the details of his email since that is personal, I realized that I have experienced similar issues, and I am sure many others have.


At some time in everyone's life, we have all had an issue occur where someone walked into a conversation, saw something they did not understand, or heard something secondhand. This began to make me think. I thought that this problem of how people react to these things is a failure to communicate. Why? Because in the majority of cases, if they walked into a conversation, they did not hear the entire conversation. If they saw something, most likely they were not watching from the start, and when they hear something secondhand, the story probably has changed.


For many years, owning my own business, and later after retiring from the fire service and working in corporate management, I had my times when someone would walk into a situation they had no idea of what was going on and became confrontational about it. First, I have a simple rule.


IF THE TONE OF YOUR VOICE IS CONFRONTATIONAL, EXPECT CONFRONTATION IN RETURN. IF THAT IS NOT YOUR INTENT, THEN LEARN HOW TO SPEAK.

It is human nature for people to ask things when they have no clue what was occurring in a confrontational or accusations manner. Therefore, I do not take it personally. However, I don't take it PERIOD. I will tell someone immediately, "When you are ready to discuss this reasonably, let me know, and we will discuss it." That serves two purposes. First, it puts a stop to an immediate argument. Secondly, it gives both people time to gather their thoughts about the issue.


WHAT ABOUT SOCIETY?:


We must also remember we are all individuals. However, we are also part of a 'whole.' That whole is referred to as a society. If you think back over the years, you may have had this or seen this happen between co-workers, family members, friends, customers in a store and sales staff, and relationships. People accuse before they give the befit of the doubt. It is not the question(s) they ask. It's the manner in which they ask them.

If you are going to go through life like these three monkeys, you will always only know half the story. That is the knowledge that will get you into a conflict with others.


Society is the number one offender of this, and since we are part of society, we each hold some responsibility toward it. It is A FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE when we jump to conclusions, make accusations, or become confrontational before knowing the whole story. A story, by the way, can be found by asking the right question, the right way.


Whenever anyone makes an accusation or is confrontational, they immediately put the other person into a confrontational reply posture. At times, even worse. We all need to choose our words wisely. Anger or not understanding a situation can lead to devastating circumstances. People become angry, tempers fly, and people say things they usually do not mean due to their emotions.


When it is all said and done, now they are faced with fixing the problem they caused. Another human trait is many people do not forget. 'Forgive and forget' is a great phrase. However, many can forgive, but few can forget. Over time, this is further exacerbated when it consistently happens over and over again. This is the dilemma that society faces. Good communication skills are also a trait that society has never mastered. It happens at all levels of society—politics, governments, countries, leaders of countries, etc. No level of human being nor any structure is immune to this.


THE QUESTION IS WHY:


After all these decades of living, with all we have done wrong as a society and were supposed to learn from our mistakes, why can't we fix the most basic human errors? FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE! I wish I could answer that question in a simple blog post, but unfortunately, scholars have written books about it. It takes more than a few words to explain it. Additionally, there is no simple answer because we are now discussing the human condition. Things where personal agendas, egos, beliefs, values, and many other factors, both innate and by nature of culture, come into play.

However, even with all of these factors. We all share one common bond. That bond is the ability to have common sense and reason. The intelligence to know what is right and what is wrong. What works, and what does not? Most of all, we can learn from our past experiences. If we do not. We have no one to blame but ourselves.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out how people communicate is not working. You do not need a college degree. All you need is common sense. Whenever people do not use the tools they were given since birth, the tools they have learned to develop as they got older and gained some wisdom, provided there are no underlying medical conditions, we are at fault—the first time and every time thereafter. You cannot place the blame elsewhere. OWN IT. Better still, Don't only own it. FIX IT. Learn how to communicate with others properly.


If you see or hear something that concerns you, ASK about it, not in a confrontational way, but in an informative way. Ask the question before you make the accusation. The easiest way to communicate with others is to speak to them how you want to be spoken to. Also, keeping things straightforward and to the point helps to avoid misunderstandings.


If you still end up in this situation, break it down into simpler terms.

Speak in a manner that can be understood by everyone involved. We must remember that we know what we are trying to say when we speak, and we assume others do, also. That is not always the case. Just because we know, it does not mean we are putting it across correctly or in a manner that the other person understands what we are trying to say. Especially if we are speaking in a manner that is offensive to someone else. Therefore, keep it short, simple, basic, and concise. Do not leave room for misunderstandings.


The single factor that affects all of this going wrong is emotions. Let's face it, we all have them. We also all feel the need to get our point across. However, when we are insistent, emotional, or both, we have closed the door to our minds. We only see our point and no one else's. Therefore, how can we expect to understand anyone's point? You are correct. We cannot. Hence, the argument begins.


As I stated earlier. This happens in every environment—family, friends, and mostly between co-workers. In an article by The Atlantic , studies showed that most people tend to be competitive, especially in the workplace. Now do not take me wrong. Being competitive is fine, and in many cases, good and produces positive outcomes. However, some are competitive because they feel entitled. A co-worker may make more, has a higher title, or holds a position another finds attractive and that they are suited for. Now the emotional factor comes into play, and the problems begin. One, or both, may speak to each other in an offensive, accusational, or questionable manner—most times without knowing the whole story. They only see what they want to see.


This is very common. I can't count how often I have seen this occur between co-workers during my management career. IN EVERY CASE, IT IS NOT NECESSARY. IT'S A FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE. There are instances where the chemistry between two people isn't there. For whatever reason. However, here it comes, the emotional aspect again. When you remove emotions from the equation, things are much easier to work through.


Easier said than done, you say? Well, I disagree. It all depends on how you train yourself to think, act, and interact with others. Make no mistakes here. It is a choice. It is your choice. When I make the statement remove the emotions from the equation, you do that. You look at the situation without letting your emotions interfere with your judgment. After working out the problem, you can bring the emotional component into the conversation. Believe me. It will be much easier for the other person to understand your emotions after the issue has been talked out.


Emotions cause a host of issues. They cause us to:


  • We speak before we think,

  • Not listen to what others have to say,

  • Not fully comprehending the issue,

  • Closes our minds to constructive communication,

  • Causes us to be opinionated,

  • Wanting to have the last word,

  • Saying things we do not mean.

Those are just a few issues emotions can cause. Think about this question for a moment. Do you want to have a conversation with someone who is exhibiting those traits? I didn't think so. Therefore, why be that person? The last item I listed, saying things we don't mean, is critical because, as the saying goes, "think about what you say before you say it. Once you say it, you can't take it back.


Of course, it is a saying. We can always apologize for what we say. However, is it ever really forgotten? How many arguments have you gotten into where someone through back at you, something you said a while back? You reply, "I told you I was sorry." You see, people do not forget. They may accept, but they do not forget.


CAN WE AGREE TO DISAGREE?:


Yes, there are times when a compromise or solution cannot be reached. Is it okay to agree to disagree? Of course, it is. PROVIDING there is mutual respect for one another's views. People will not always agree, but they should respect the other party. That mutual respect will help them to work through a similar issue should one arise in the future. This concept works very well in your personal life. However, not so much in the business world. In management, every manager should have one rule. My door is always open. If you need to speak with me about an issue, that is where we have that conversation. Not in front of other workers or customers.


A good manager will always listen, at times, let the other person vent and get it out of their system. That is how we learn and become better managers. With that said, there is one caveat. After this good manager listens, thinks, and decides; that is where it ends. It is no longer a discussion.


It all comes down to respecting one another and not falling into the FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE trap. Often a manager makes decisions based on factors that others are not aware of, and at times, others do not need to be in that loop. There are times a co-worker needs to follow directions. Providing those directions is not unsafe, illegal, or immoral. Like it or not, managers have decretion and the ability to make certain decisions. Others do not have to like or agree with them. However, they need to follow them. The biggest problem is when there are multiple managers. Managers will manage differently. This can be confusing to others. This is why we communicate correctly.


IN CLOSING:


Everything in life revolves around solid communication skills. This is how arguments are avoided. Wars are not started. Most of all, how people get along. How they succeed and, together, reach a common goal. No one is an island. Everyone needs another or others for various reasons—some by choice, others by necessity. Learning and practicing communicating effectively and correctly are the keys to everyone having a good day.


Please feel free to leave comments, or if you have a topic you would like me to discuss, you can email me at crondina@caesarrondinaauthor.com. Thank you.


Be safe, stay well, and focus on being happy. And remember to always:


Live with an open mind,

Live with an open heart,

Live your best life.


Best Regards,



Caesar Rondina


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