Spirited Debate on LO LO6643

12 Apr 96 13:22:34 EDT

Replying to LO6577 --

The following prompted this submission:

>[Host's Note: Dear Readers -- This is to launch a thread about how to
create the most effective dialogue in a community. The specific question
is about dialogue here on the LO list, but I hope the results will be
applicable elsewhere.

>Here's how this arose... Recently one of the msgs here caught Hal's
attention and he composed an energetic reply that began, "I dispair" (at
talk like this)...

>I declined to distribute Hal's msg. (I do decline a few msgs from
subscribers, not many).

Hal then wrote Rick who used the whole sequence as the fountainhead for a
thread on effective dialog.

I can relate very well to Hal's messages, ideas and approaches to
communication. They are my natural style and I like them and I like the
people that use them. In fact I used similar patterns of thinking and
communication for about 25 years. They served me well. I received
regular promotions, increases in responsibility and pay, and was regarded
as fairly successful. However, my present view is they are non-optimum in
most settings and especially in settings where one cannot see body
language to assess the communication process.

I think of that period of my life as the "say unto others as you would
have them say unto you" period. It took a long time to realize that only
a small fraction of people are compatible with what can be called a direct
objective style. That style produces emotional responses in a very large
percentage of the population. I started really catching on after making a
presentation to a division VP and his staff. This VP was famous for
maintaining a crisp, vigorous, no-nonsense meeting environment and dialog
with everyone. So I prepared a crisp, direct, presentation that said all
of us managers in the division contributed to a certain problem by being
"bureaucrats". I was very surprised at the emotional responses the term
generated. And no action was taken on the problem until consultants were
called in a couple years later. A few years later when the VP was leaving
the company for a better opportunity he said, "Well Ray, here's one less
bureaucrat to slow things down." A member of his staff referred to the
incident 5 years later! I had no idea their feelings could be hurt in any
businesslike setting during an objective discussion. It appears the term
attacked their self image as hard driving dynamic efficient doers (which
they all are).

The point is that emotions severely interfere with effective dialog and
should be avoided most of the time. Communications are difficult enough
without the added impediment of emotional responses. And one cannot
estimate the response of others based on what their own response might be
to words, phrases, etcetera. I now think in terms of "say unto others as
They would have me say unto Them". The tough part is figuring out what
that is, but in general, soft works better than hard.

Finally, I want to thank Rick for creating a very civil, even
affectionate, tone in all his communications. I believe his personal
example sets the standard for L-O and is largely responsible for the
excellence of this News Group.

Ray Usell, Poway CA.



Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>