We cannot escape. Nobody, never, nowhere. Communication is not just the wonderful link between a sender and a recipient. It is also all the silence, ignoring, body language, confusion going on all around us all the time. And the peak of what you have to accept is: non-communication does not exist. There is no communication-free zone, no area where we can really escape from it. I guess even in the next world (paradise), we will communicate “like the devil”.
Now please do not think of the blue elephant! Okay. What did you think of? Of course, you thought of a blue elephant! In your current mood, this clearly means: every message telling you to “do-not, can-not, must-not” will not register. What is worse: you produce the opposite.
The innocent person running through the pedestrians’ zone crying: “It wasn’t me who stole the fifty Euros!” does not have much of a chance not to be accused and found guilty. The more often he insists he did not do it, the more likely he will be seen as piling guilt on himself.
Being a father, I can give you another quite moving example. My kids liked to balance on the high crosspiece of the swing in our garden. And even though they looked like true artists in this field, it cost me quite some self-discipline not to yell: “Be careful, so you will not fall down!” This well-meant cry would put the very idea of falling down into the forefront of one’s consciousness. Instead, a pedagogically skilled person with communicative skills goes the way of “positive fortification”: “You are doing a great job there, you know. This balancing looks really like you know what you are doing!” I never told them how my hands were all clammy.
Positive fortification is also the best possible tool for a top manager to use. If you criticize an employee and make him small, just like if you keep telling him what he should not do, the effect will be the opposite. Affirmative words on what has been achieved are the basis on which a professional can build up a solid working relationship and upon which further positive instructions should be based.
For example: “You did a fine job writing this report. I would also find it nice if I could see a few numbers backing the positions “turnout development” and “marketing”. I am sure you will do a good job at that, as well! And I assume you are going to deal with the layout after the entire text is assembled. Thanks for a job well done!”
Communication on the job is exciting, but my favourite is communication in the private, personal sector. But that is something I will write a separate article on at another time.
(Translated by EG)