November 24, 2014

Communication is not a Competition

One of the most common ways we block communication is by comparing, topping or one-upping. Ever tried to tell someone how busy, overwhelmed and stressed out you are only to have them tell you how much more work and pressure they have?Not only does that not resolve your problem, now you feel like your issues have been trivialized or dwarfed by the one-upper.

We’ve all been on the giving or receiving end of topping, and we may even have great intentions, trying to make others feel like they can handle their caseload or crazy clients by offering our heftier and crazier stories. To be effective and helpful, we need to remember that communication is not a race that we’re trying to win. So the next time someone shares with you, listen, understand and relate, but don’t compare. And the next time you’re being topped, kindly ask the one-upper to just listen…or if that person is your superior, take a deep breath and remind yourself not to engage in a competition with them or others who come to you in the future.

Please feel free to share a time that you were one-upped by a well-meaning colleague, and how you handled it. Thanks for taking the time to comment. Please follow me for more easy-to-use communication tools.

Lee Broekman is an executive coach and trainer. Her company, Organic Communication brings interactive, never boring, always edifying workshops like Common Communication Blockers: How to Enhance Your Interactions with Clients and Colleagues to your firm or organization.