Do Your Words Make Your Colleagues Cringe?
The Ethical Lexicon #2: Here's how to upgrade your conversations
Do you remember the last time you heard a musician hit the wrong note in an otherwise inspired performance? Do you remember how it made you cringe?
It’s even worse when it happens in the boardroom, in the dining room, or in casual conversation.
We’re not talking about microaggressions here. That word itself resonates like fingernails on a chalkboard.
We don’t have to turn verbal clumsiness into a social syndrome. We just need to recognize it and develop a strategy for what to do about it.
Last week, I messaged one of my closest online friends to ask a favor. Here was his response:
“I read your request to my wife this morning. I quote directly: ‘I love that man. That's the most polite, least intrusive ask I've ever heard.’"
I won’t tell you about a different interaction I had last week, except that it left an acrid taste in my mouth. What’s more, I knew with absolute certainty that my interlocutor meant no offense whatsoever.
In a way, that made it worse.
Here’s the point:
Soft skills are so-called—or should be—because they soften our interactions, allow the give and take of human discourse flow more easily, and make it more likely that we will want to accommodate one another for our mutual best interest.
The problem is, the term makes those skills sound non-essential or second tier. That’s why another dear friend, Kimi, refers to them as Power Skills, perhaps because they enable us to draw on our collective power-potential which, when harnessed and directed, allows us to accomplish together far more than any of us could individually.
If that doesn’t sound worthwhile… well, maybe you’re on the wrong platform.
So what can you do to avoid the false notes of dissonance and discord?
That’s the topic of this week’s installment of The Ethical Lexicon in Fast Company Magazine. Enjoy!