Wednesday, March 11, 2009



I've been giving this "Poor Communication" thing a lot of thought. You can have poor communication with your best friend, kids, spouse, lover or boss. The bottom line is that it can ruin a great relationship/bond/career. But lately, I'm wondering just how many people truly are good communicators. It seems the more work/study I do on it, the more I see others are awful at it.

Top Signs of a Poor Communicator:

1. Avoids talking to you about a particular subject. Ex. Shuts the phone off, Leaves the room, leaves the city, leaves the country.

2. Makes plans around you if sensing you'll bring up a topic. Ex. "I'd love to talk to you about your new work-from-home-plan, but I have a board meeting. Can it wait?" Or, "I'd love to talk about our relationship, but I'm really busy at work right now. Can we talk about it later?" (But, guess what? "later" never comes).

3. Gets hostile and brings up your weaknesses when you DO try for openly communicate assertively. Ex. "I see what you're saying, but you always ________."

4. Doesn't answer your phone/e-mail/page/memo until much later. Then when quizzed about this, responds, "I was busy."

5. Changes the subject when at all possible (also known as non-sequitor) or reverts to number #2. Ex. "I know you would like a raise, but have you seen the material Quality Control has put out lately?" OR, YOU: "So where do you see our relationship going these days?" HIM: "Clint Eastwood has a Clint-fest on at AMC."

6. Uses defensiveness to thwart any discussion at all. Ex. "Can't you see I have a migrane now? I absolutely cannot talk." or "My job is VERY important and/or dangerous (or substitute "and has a big merger"), so you KNOW I CANNOT talk right now." Or finally, "If you KNEW how many calls we were getting in Customer Service, you wouldn't be asking such questions right now."

7. Uses everybody's favorite "Get out of hot water" line of all time: "I'd like to get into that, but I'm REALLY BUSY these days.

It's great, isn't it? Got any to add?

1 comment:

Theresa said...

I would separate this out between women and men. Remember that not all people are writers. A small grunt from someone might be the best they've got to offer.

Look at my sister, for example, who never sends an email longer than 2 sentences. Her husband's the same way; his sister once sent him a long email wanting to repair their relationship and he responded with one sentence and she cut off the relationship based on that fact. Because non-communication is also communication.

It can mean: I have other priorities right now. Or, if full time work does stress someone out, the last thing they want to do on their down time is have to deal with communicating. Sometimes I just turn off my phone and PC, and sit out on my front porch to read and chill and drink a martini.

I am a total phone phobe. I loathe talking on the phone, so the only time I would probably use it is to firm up plans quickly or to dial 911.