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Showing posts from June, 2013

"I Don't Know What You Just Said"

I had the opportunity this weekend to watch a movie called "The Dilemma" with Vince Vaughn and Kevin James.  It was an entertaining way to tackle the topics of honesty, fidelity and friendship when all of those have been compromised.  One scene in particular that caught my attention involved Vince and Kevin's characters engaging in a very confusing conversation.  Since communications training is what I do and effective communications is what this blog is all about, I couldn't resist bringing to your attention what a lack of clarity in communications looks like.  If you get the chance to watch the movie (you can online), pay close attention to when Kevin's character Nick tries to explain to Vince's character Ronny, some hypothetical situation about overcoming Ronny's fear of getting married.  It had something to do with ice cream, running over citizens on a sidewalk, and one percent.  Ronny's response after a perplexed look:  "I don't thi…

Does Articulate = Intelligent?

For some reason, being called articulate in the black community has become synonymous with being called idiotic.  Black people have often gotten offended when someone white says "He speaks so well" or "She's very articulate".  Remember the hubbub when it was said about President Obama the first time he ran for office?  Such an observation has been frowned upon because of the way it's been said in the past.  It sounds to black folks like the person saying it is surprised that a black person can put two sentences together and actually make sense.  For black people (who care), speaking well should not be treated as if it's a phenomenon in the African American culture.
     With that said, let's look a little bit deeper at this idea of being articulate when communicating.  The moment a person opens his or her mouth, a dozen assumptions are made about them by the way they speak. Some of them are right on target, and of course, some of them are total…

The Courage to Speak Up

"Snitches get stitches."  Ever hear that term?  Apparently this is the threat in some neighborhoods where people who witness violent crimes are reminded that if they say anything about what they saw, they face retaliation.  Maybe even death. 
     Intimidation is a tactic used also in the workplace to prevent workers from speaking up when they see things going on that are unethical or even illegal.  The situation is especially difficult when the offending person is a leader in the organization.  Take the former superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools, Beverly Hall, for example.  She and 34 other educators in the school system were indicted for a vast cheating scandal that rocked the community and grabbed national headlines.  The cheating is believed to date as far back as 2001.  Imagine the damage to the thousands of students who have gone through the system over the past dozen years and were inadvertently caught in this web of lies and deceit.  For those who worked ha…