(originally published March 24th, 2005)

I like to consider myself fairly knowledgeable about the subject of communications. I’ve done both seminars and workshops on the topic, and I’ve written about it enough in my newsletters.

So it’s with a little bit of shame that I come here today and realize that I’ve missed a very important point. That point is that it still takes two people to have good communications, and sometimes the other person is either incapable of having a good conversation, or doesn’t want to even try.

I found myself recently in just one of those situations that I hadn’t encountered in a very long time, and it had nothing to do with religion, politics, or racism; those are usually the topics where communications sometimes goes awry, I’ve found. Instead, it involved a discussion about processes; I’m not going to say which type of processes, just processes in general.

The person I was talking to felt he was right; we all feel we’re right. The problem, though, is that the discussion became more of a monologue, and whenever that happens, there is no dialogue, thus no communications. I used all the tricks in the book; intense listening, repeating what was being said for clarification, making sure all points were detailed and formulated,… didn’t matter, as nothing was going to get this person on the right track so that we could understand each other. Well, at least so I could understand him, since he didn’t get to hear much of what I had to say.

Good communications involves many key factors. The biggest key factor is enough respect for the other person, so that you give them a chance to communicate back with you. No one learns anything if they’re doing all the talking. Or maybe that’s the point, eh?