Clarity is a gift

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Communication. I swear that humans beings, who are by default social animals can’t communicate effectively. Feelings, hurt and hidden cause all sorts of problems for us. Why can’t we just get along?

Today’s communication pattern is the concept of email cc’s. If you cc someone when you send an email then you are telling them one of two things. The first is that you don’t think they will respond correctly. The other reason you might cc someone is that you do not believe they are capabile and are letting their manager know that without actually saying it.

Which brings me to my 100th blog on the concept of communication.

I have found a flaw in my personal communication style. I am not always clear about what I can and cannot do. I like to please people (I don’t want them to dislike me). As such I am not always clear in what I can and cannot do. I am striving to be more clear as I go forward, but it is a long road from where I am to where I would like to be.

Clarity is a critical and it is my new personal goal.


What was revealed?

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“I got shocked”

her voice a reaction to the light switch

shocking her with visions

of what once had been

of course could never be again

but once was

“shocked” her voice echoing

in the room

reaching for the light switch

the man stretched out his hand

as comfort



it was rejected

“shocked” the reply

through the handkerchief clutched

to the now covered face

he wondered not aloud

what was revealed?

The light swallowed the words

as they sought egress from the room

and he sat in the overstuffed chair


for a moment only

what over-stuffing meant

as his scotch tickled the ICE in the glass

and slid brown into

his now smiling face.
What was revealed?

he wondered, then shook the glass gently

the ICE tinkling

the scotch dancing

his eyes watching

the handkerchief

wondering if it could reveal

what was shocking.


My tires hum and my ears fade away

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100 miles

200 miles

300 miles

away from home

in the silence that is the cocoon

you hear the echo’s of each passing mile

was I the last mile you were to drive today?

Am I the last mile?

In asking



but asking

am I the last mile

and no one knows.

The last mile

like the first mile



marked only by a white lettered green post

that sticks out of the ground

wounding the ground

driven into the ground

a market

100 miles

a lament

from inside the quiet cocoon

can it truly be the last mile?



Just a thought on communication

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Communication (yeah I know its getting boring but I can’t help it) and Education

I am always curious as to why people are selected for projects. I don’t mean consulting projects, those should be representational of the skills the person has. Rather I mean projects that involve someone coming back to the rest of the team and teaching them.

There is a difference between a great speaker and a great teacher. Teaching is a communication style on its own, you combine many of the elements of great speakers, but you have to have the one element many great speakers don’t have – the ability to transition from one to many, to one on one easily when the student is struggling. By no means do I mean or even find that either is more important than the other. Each style (Presenter or Speaker and Teacher or Educator) are equally important. In fact it is my contention that they should be partners.

The great speaker presents information to groups better than anyone.

The teacher is a good group presenter but is more effective at knowing who gets and understands the points.

If they were a partnership (introduce the topic with a speaker and then follow-up with a teacher) it would actually make both more effective.


Question 1, how do we communicate?

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An architecture of communication

Let’s gather the requirements for communication first. (like all good architectures we start from what we need)..

What do people need from communication?

The communication requirements cycle:

  • Reassurance
  • Comfort
  • Entertainment
  • Validation
  • energy
  • structure
  • directions
  • leadership

Now think about your favorite teacher from school. What type of communication did they leverage? Most likely it was the last three (structure to provide a consistent view of the information being presented to allow for directions to develop and leadership to be provided.) It was leadership in the sense that even knowing the person was teaching you something you didn’t care. You wanted to have more information from that person.

This brings us another interesting concept beyond what people need, its why do we try to communicate?

The information acquisition cycle:

  • Want to know something
  • Need to know something
  • Interested in something

Interested and want to know are things that can be influenced by others. Need to know puts you in a situation where you have to have certain information.

So what then assuming this initial component that people need different types of information t different times and their overall commitment to that information may be different depending on where they are in the acquisition cycle how do we communicate?



Do you listen or talk when you are on a call or in a meeting?

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The smartest man in the room syndrome.

Recently I’ve sat on a few conference calls where the speaker started talking about a topic and people interrupted with those own thoughts. There is nothing wrong with asking a question. There is nothing wrong with clarifying a point made. But when your set of questions derails what the speaker was trying to present, you’ve violated a rule of conduct.  I call that the smartest man in the room syndrome. It has to do with an inability to have “empathy” for anyone else in the room.  If you don’t feel like they are worthy of speaking its ok to derail the conversation, you after all, know what is best.

It seems sad to be in a world where communication is so much easier than it ever has been before. When I lived in Thailand as a child we spoke to my grandparents twice via phone the entire time, most of the time recording tapes and sending them back and forth. Communication was such a pleasure (I loved my grandparents very much). Now you can speak 1/2 across the world anytime you want. Using voip you can even talk to someone in Thailand for free. The change has been incredible and yet the problems of and with communication have continued to grow. In my book “transitional services” I talk about some communication anti-patterns and frankly this is one. The concept of, I am the smartest man in the room therefore I should be the only one speaking.

Not sure what anyone can do about this problem, simply pointing it out for all to see. I guess as a reformed “smartest man in the room” I probably notice it more than other people do.  It really seems to bother me…



I am, you are, we are dedicated!!!!!

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What does dedication mean?

I’ve been involved with a number of charitable organizations over the years. I was a union representative when I was a school teacher and have represented various organizations over the years in relation to pursuing goals as well. I recently have run into a group of people that are engaged and involved with a project I am working with for an organization that make me nervous.

It is the sense of entitlement they have.  Not as I talked about in my other blog this morning the flawed communication patterns that entitlement often produce. Rather the sense that a small contribution equals a large contribution. That entitled conversation that their “tiny” contribution matters the same as a huge contribution by another person.

Why do people think that their contribution is so valuable?

I mention the negative or high-value communication issue of “they must come to me” in my other blog this morning.  But what else is driving these normally wonderful people (giving their time is awesome) to be prima donnas? What is the goal of this communication? Because to me it shows a lack of dedication to what is going on around them. They are dedicated to promoting themselves and not really helping the organization they are involved with.

To me, dedication means the following (and of course I may be screwed up it wouldn’t be the first time).

  • Engaged: I participate in the processes of the organization
  • Involved: I attend meetings and if I cannot, I notify the organizer of the meeting at least 24 hours in advance
  • Aware of the contribution of others: others give more than I do – be aware of how much they are giving
  • I work within the channels of the organization: Communication and Community are the same thing – if you go around someone once, they will not leverage your skills in the future (for fear of you going around them again)
  • There are no special communication rules just for me: This is a continuation of the bullet above but it also speaks to how I work with, support and speak about the organization to others.

A wise man once said “Enter the room with the heart of a servant.” That to me is the essence of dedication. That your gift isn’t wiped out by your presence.

Dedication, giving of yourself for the betterment of others. Frankly you do not and probably will not ever get a thank you. If you do get a thank you cherish it!