The Impact of Emotional Communication, Part II

Last week, we introduced the scenario of an emotionally charged discussion on political rhetoric. Here were our three choices:

  • 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

I choose the last option, walking away from a conversation that (a) was only going to get worse if I chose to engage and (b) no matter what I said to her, she would never change her mind because she is one of those people (“she is always right”). Additionally, we were friendly but I did not have a significant emotional investment in the relationship. Due to that, I chose the last option so I would not have a significant conflict but did hope to spare the friendship. After walking away, I went upstairs to my room to check some emails and prepare for the next day. I preceded to receive four or five emotionally filled texts from her, stating how immature I was and how I embarrassed her by walking away from her. Now, if she would have just dropped the subject, I would have moved on and we could have salvaged our professional friendship. After the texts, we actually did not see each other the rest of the conference. I received another text a few days later of a similar nature to the previous texts. Due to that, I decided not to respond. Was this the right decision? What are your thoughts?

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?

 

As the great Ratt song goes…..”Lack of Communication….Lack of….Communication”

People avoid confrontation like the plague. Some would rather ignore and hope it goes away but this might be the absolutely worse approach possible. Case in point – I have been working on finding a coach to take over my son’s second grade basketball team. We met this nice young man through a camp Caleb attended this summer that is very involved in professional basketball and coaches kids’ select teams. We had everything set for him to meet the team this week and everyone was excited. He actually just got married and went on his honeymoon….and I have not heard from him again! I emailed him twice, texted him and called him…to no avail. From our initial impressions, he seemed like a great guy that was able to connect with kids. I can only surmise that he changed his mind and did not want to commit to this with an already arduous full-time job. HOWEVER, there is never an excuse for a lack of communication.

 

 

People lose all credibility when there is a lack of transparency. Humans are inherently forgiving…if the issue is communicated in a timely manner. It is best not to avoid confrontation but accept, discuss and move forward. However, avoidance is not an option. People are no longer upset at the decision you have made, they are upset at the lack of communication and lack of trust you have put in the relationship. Finally, it really comes down to lack of closure and really understanding what happened and what caused this decision.

 

 

I have no idea what happened in this current situation; I can only surmise from the little I know. I can say though that the organization he works for is very well-known and he represents this organization (like we all do) at all times. He has set a bad precedent and I will make sure never to attend anything by this organization and I will make sure, if asked, to tell friends why as well.

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