Friday, February 26, 2010

"Communication - It's Complicated"

That's the title of a guest column in the February issue of one of my newsletters. It immediately drew a question from a recipient: how can I comment on it? Well, not in the newsletter, but here is a repeat -- with ample opportunity to comment:

What's complicated about communication? You say what you want to say. The other responds. What’s complicated about that? Take the movie, It's Complicated, for example. For those of us who had the pleasure of seeing it, we may have noticed that Alec Baldwin's character was a bit narcissistic. Over and over he said to Meryl Streep, "I'm so happy." He mouthed the words to her across the room. He whispered them in her ear. Never once did he ask, "Are you happy?" Everything was all about him.

Now, you might say that's typical of movie versions of the male species. Perhaps. But, I'd argue that many of us place ourselves at the forefront of the conversation and forget the other person. When we meet someone at a networking event, what do we often do? Do we listen when the other people tell us their passions? Or, do we immediately jump in with our solutions to their problems? It's been my experience that we jump in with solutions even when we do not know what the problem is.

If Alec Baldwin had paid more attention to Streep's needs, desires and wants, perhaps he would have gotten the girl in the end.

The next time you find yourself in front of another person, challenge yourself to hear what that person is all about. Challenge yourself to make communication less about you and more about them. That way, it won't be so complicated!

Author: Joan C. Curtis, Ed.D.
Total Communications Coach

Saturday, February 13, 2010

International Women's Day

Yesterday, I had a great telephone conversation with Barb Giamanco, Peggy Parks and Pat Bowen. We spent a few minutes talking about the Phenomenal Women's Conference, on the heels of Pat's, Peggy's and my visit with Dorothy Zinsmeister and Joann Trodahl of The Siegal Institute last Monday, but then quickly moved on to International Women's Day (March 8).

Not very popular in the United States, certainly not here in the South, but if it is true that those who do not heed history are doomed to repeat it, we'd better start heeding!

Atlanta Women in Business will observe this year's International Women's Day with an "After Hours" get-together. Barb will do IWD interviews on her radio program that day and in the evening she will bring in a crew for a video recording.

What does International Women's Day mean to you? To me it means that we've come a long way since women could not vote, were regarded as second-class citizens, could not have a credit card or make major purchases in their own name, and were told to aspire to nothing more than "making a good marriage". It also means we still have a long way to go, with the pursuit of equality an elusive goal.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Universal Health Care

Margaret Flowers, M.D. is my newest heroine! Representing a physicians' group that advocates for universal health care in the United States, her Open Letter to President Obama is worth reading: