If you’re like me, you appreciate directness and unambiguous communication, particularly when it pertains to a straight forward question or concern you’ve initiated.
So, what do you do when you encounter a squirrelly communicator? It’s not an easy question to answer. When I moved from the agency world to a corporate job in 1999, I was already a seasoned PR pro, so, it never occurred to me that I would have any difficulty communicating with the people that I worked with or depended on to get my job done. Surprise, surprise.
I quickly found that I was living in a land of communications pitfalls and boobey traps. Used to speaking my mind, I found that my direct style, passion and willingness to jump to action were not quite as valued in my new position as navigating the bureaucratic jungle, cultivating political savior faire, and figuring out who reports to whom.
Have you suffered through any of these distinctly annoying communications styles? If so, give me your ideas on how to stop perpetrators in their tracks!
1) Hide n’ seek-speak
This is when you’re dealing with someone via email or Instant Message who ignores you or gives you a non-answer to your question. This is because a) they truly don’t know the answer and can’t be bothered trying to figure it out; b) they don’t want to give you the answer, because they are afraid of confrontation (or getting their head chopped off); or c) they ignore you, praying for some loophole, that will get them out of taking on that pesky project.
2) Running for office-speak
You’ve attended those meetings before, where a well-meaning colleague goes off the deep end talking about a successful project or life changing endeavor while, unfortunately, the point remains lost at sea. After I remove the push pins from beneath my cuticles, I like to respond with, “Was there an agenda for this meeting?”
3) Look, I’m smiling-speak
Be on the look out for wolves in sheep’s clothing. This style usually involves a left-field compliment from a boss or client followed by a discussion about your new role as senior toilet scrubber. Be careful who you piss off – and how good you are at scrubbing toilets.