Have you ever had a conversation that went like this? What a lovely laugh for a Sunday morning, but what profound lessons for Monday.
I bet you have. I know I have. We laugh because it hits home. Apparently we haven’t progressed too far since 1953, because we are still having these silly conversations.
Of course Abbot and Costello’s routine is a classic and takes silly to extremes, but these types of conversations happen in organizations all the time.
One person is trying to say something. The other person is trying to say something. It gets to the point where the reason behind the communication is lost because the other person just wants to win.
The tone of the conversation goes from natural, to shouting, and finally to total frustration that ends in thinking the other person is just nuts.
What’s happening? Everyone is so set on winning that no one is focused on the outcome, which needs to be effective communication that leads to appropriate results.
How do you avoid these silly mis-communications? By taking the time to define terms, and really understand what your partner in dialogue is trying to get across.
Had Bud Abbott or Lou Costello said, “Hang on – I think we want the same things – for us both to know the names of the other players. I wonder if we should stop arguing and figure out what each other is saying.
Of course, that wouldn’t have led to the greatest comedy routine of all times. But it might help in our everyday arguments. Because really, we all want similar outcomes – to do good work and to be recognized for that.