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Be the Bridge—Communicating to a Win-Win

Eventually we all experience it. Some of us may go through it everyday (hello, Corporate Americans). The ugly email, the public humiliation, the dressing down, the nasty letter, the snotty comment—whatever form it takes, no one wins with inappropriate communication. I admit to having been both the deliverer and the recipient of it, and it is not a pretty picture. No one benefits.

Of course, if you’re like me, your immediate, adrenalin-driven response is to send Vito and Guido out to slap some sense into the offender. Then, after you talk yourself down a bit, you just want to engage in some verbal thrust and parry, slicing the under-armed opponent to figurative ribbons with your witty repartee. But let’s face it, this usually just gets really ugly and quickly slips down into the realm of verbal mud wrestling. Even if you emerge victorious, you feel dirty.

So, as an old—make that experienced—dog who has learned new tricks, I offer a few tips that I am working through as a part of my twelve-step communication program:

Although you may be loath to agree when in the midst of a communication breakdown, the Golden Rule is the best rule. Failing that just keep in mind that sticks and stones may break your bones, but words really can’t kill you. If that doesn’t work, head to a quiet room and keep chanting…."be the bridge, be the bridge."

Next Issue:

"So, What Do You Do?": Getting the Word Out

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