“What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate…”
Who doesn’t remember that famous line from Cool Hand Luke?
It’s one of those iconic, ironic phrases that uses few words to convey so much. And it resonates with those of us who work in PR, content marketing and social media.
You wonder why, with all our business savvy and skills, so many people and organizations are just plain awful at telling their stories. Aren’t there enough cases, books and training modules out there to help us do a better job?
Of course, we come up with many excuses. But I think the crux of them all is our out of control ego. And our habitual reliance on using it as a guiding force.
I’m not going to get into a discussion here on Freudian psychology and yes, I know egos play a key part of our personalities and sense of self – not to mention their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
But when we let them run the show, they become the mortal enemy of open, honest, trustworthy communications for a number of reasons:
- Egos are prone to show off and demonstrate how smart and erudite they are – often at the price of clarity.
- Egos take things way too personally and have a skewed view of control mutuality, the agreed upon balance of power in any relationship. It’s all about them!
- When our egos get inflated with delusions of grandeur, you never know when they’re going to explode. And those of us who are guardians of reputation are left to clean up the mess.
Ego free zone
So as an experiment, I’d like you to put your ego in a locked compartment for a week…OK, 20 minutes! And instead of judging every single interaction, give people the benefit of the doubt (even if they may not deserve it), consider where they’re coming from, what’s bothering them and how you can use communications to get your story across in a more empathetic way.
I think you’ll be amazed at how few failures you’ll find.
What other things can we do to be better communicators? My ego and I anxiously await your comments.
Note: This is day two of the Spin Sucks Scavenger Hunt. (Thanks for including me, Gini!.) If you haven’t signed up, it’s not too late to join in the fun! And here’s a link to Corina Manea’s post from day one.
Bonus: If you buy a copy of Spin Sucks between now and March 8, Gini and her team will send you a fun package of goodies to use in your office. Just email the receipt to iboughtspinsucks@