The Impact of Emotional Communication, Part I

Communication is key in all facets of life. The impact of emotional communication can be gravely detrimental to a person or company’s reputation. Emotional tends to destroy all logic and reason; when you communicate emotionally, you tend to communicate irrationally. Many examples have occurred during our presidential election last fall and the fall-out from it. Now, please note this is not a political discussion but how the political rhetoric has affected communication.

Last fall, a very liberal friend of mine that I had not seen in months came up to me at a conference and went into political discussion immediately. One of the presidential debates had occurred earlier that evening and she started with questioning me if I had been to the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. She spent the next five minutes telling me how incredible the museum was and how emotional it was for her. Now, knowing this person as well as I did and noting the tone of her voice, she was definitely talking down to me. Additionally, in my opinion, telling someone of Jewish descent about the Holocaust Museum is a bit insulting. It is truly a heart-wrenching experience, especially when you lost most of your family in the concentration camps.   Then, after I took that discussion with not many words and a smile (I had no opportunity to add any dialogue), she went into asking me about my thoughts on the debate (this was a rhetorical question, she did not care about my opinion. She just wanted to talk about hers). She went into how much better one candidate was better than the other and everybody at her organization (a major not for profit that I partner with routinely) was very happy and that her candidate will win in a landslide. Now, this conversation occurred late at night this person had a few cocktails for sure. At that point, I had a few choices as to how this conversation would go from here:

  • Discuss my thoughts and opinions on the subject and get into most likely an ugly conversation/argument
  • Agree with everything she said (placate her) and continue on in a conversation that grating on me
  • Tell her that it is best that I walk away from the conversation and talk to her the next day

Which would you choose?


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