Yet Another Reason Why I Love My Job: Deliverers’ Deliverance


A major factor in whether people enjoy the place they work has to do with the quality of the people they work with, and whether there are ample opportunities to learn from those people. Some professions lend themselves to this naturally. Take the firm I work for, RogenSi, which is a Business Performance Consultancy.  Back in the late sixties when the firm was starting out, a more specific description of it would have been a “Business Communications Skills Training Company.”   Although the firm now encompasses a much wider spectrum of consulting and advisory services,  the idea effective communication is still what permeates so much of the firm’s work.  Ideas about effective communication (and meta-ideas, and meta-meta-ideas…) also permeate the day-to-day interaction between my colleagues at RogenSi, which is sometimes a bit nutty, and always fun.

They say psychologists are above the rules of psychology.  Well, business communication consultants are not above the rules of effective communication — in fact, their multi-layered cognizance of interpersonal communication dynamics makes almost every internal conversation a bit of a band jam session, a play on the craft itself.   In other words, as a consultant who delivers communication skills programs to clients (these are called “Delivery Consultants” or “Deliverers”), you can’t just say stuff to a peer.  When you say something, you’re also saying something about saying something… or at the very least, demonstrating something about saying something.  Mind you, it’s not a constant self-referential circle of pointlessness… that intense awareness turns on and off, just like a country band jamming away on guitars and banjos… one minute you’re just playing with the band, the next moment you’re playing off the band.  You’ll go back and forth a bit, and usually a really good song will come out of it.

This hyper-awareness, this constant sense of observing and continually learning, reminds me so much of my years in the world of Architecture.  For many Architects, the self-referential element tends to be limited to observations and interactions with the built environment, and outside of that domain, they are just “regular” folks taking things in like anyone else. There are also plenty of Architects who see Architecture wherever they look — in a building, in a tree, in a rocky outcropping, in a Mandlebrot Set…. and if you add Architectural History & Theory into the mix, well, forget about it. There is no escape from Architecture!

As with the world of Architecture, here in the world of People Who Help Other People Communicate Better — aka, the Deliverers — the sense of being surrounded by the one’s professional domain is constant and ever-present… it’s there in every email, every txt msg, every meeting, every bit of praise, criticism, clarification or negotiation. We live in a world of constant communication.  The music is playing all around us, and when two professional musicians bump into each other, it can be a wonderful thing.

Imagine this scene:  Someone says, “I don’t think you understood me.” Two business communication consultants step up and face each other. One of them has a twinkle in their eye… the next thing you know, it sounds something like this:

Say, mister…
I love the way you wear that hat.You don’t know nothin’.

Lewis, just ask him about his hat.

I don’t think you understood me.
I wanna get some drivers…
…to drive this car…
…and that car down to Aintry.
Drivers. You understand?

You might get the Griner brothers.

Who?

The Griner brothers.

Where do they live?

They live back over that way.

$4.99.

Right.

Talk about genetic deficiencies.

Isn’t that pitiful?
Who’s pickin’ the banjo here?

Come on, I’m with you.

I’m Iost.

I could play all day with that guy.

I believe you could, too.
I believe you could.

That’s good.
That’s very good, sir.

Goddamn, you play a mean banjo.

[handshake DENIED]

 

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About danspira

My blog is at: http://danspira.com. My face in real life appears at a higher resolution, although I do feel pixelated sometimes.

Posted on December 2, 2008, in Architecture, Business, Career, Communication Skills, music. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. the “architecture of business communication”.. has a definite ring to it. (a.b.c.)

    i read all this.. yet i can’t help but think of good old “we shape our tools as our tools shape us” (mcluhen, ur such a groovy thinker)

    how does this tool shape us?

    what kind of an effect does the technical polishing of our eloquence have on us? does it take away something from our original self? in other words, does the constant pursuit of the “mot juste” invariably lead to an “esprit d’escalier”?

  2. Oooh-la-la, vos mots sont très piquant, mon bon frère…

    Well, there’s a certain amount of self-selection going on here, i.e., people who are obsessed with words will gravitate towards careers and companies that reward such an obsession. I don’t consider this particular Dec 3, 2008 post to be of general interest… more just my own little reflective moment.

    As for the effect of “polishing our eloquence” I see that as a process of continuous improvement…. sharpening the saw, as the expression goes. You ask whether that takes something away from our “original self.” I was going to say no, but ya know, I wonder, is our “orignal self” inarticulate? Well, yeah, fo’shure. Authenticity is a highly prized trait in our society, and ineloquence is a close cousin to authenticy.

    You can see this at play wherever marketing collides with online social media… whether in the most furtive of sockpuppets or the most well-meaning self-promoting marketing consultants. Like those highly polished Facebook status updates or Twittering Twits who never ever post anything except professional-related, PR-worthy statements.

    Offline, you can sometimes feel this with people who never use contractions in their written words (tho sometimes it’s a sign of insanity) or with people who don’t have even a teenie weenie bit of filler language in their, uh, speech. Righly or wrongly, that which is flawed or rustic is often seen as genuine.

    Merci, mon bon frère, for provoking such wonderful dialogue. But now I must go foux-de-fa-fa a-la discotheque…

  3. u know.. as i wrote “original self” i cringed a bit, i was afraid it could be taken too literally… but u saw into the meaning i meant to give it.. bravo!

    ive always been fascinated by charisma. what makes people charismatic? cuz in the end, it’s charisma that steals the show. not eloquence, not righteousness, not ethics. just charisma.

    my gut says, polishing words takes away from charisma. you mention authenticity being a bit at opposite ends with eloquence as far as perception is concerned. very interesting point. i wonder if it’s because eloquence is elitist? (and i don’t mean just using big words)

    i think passion needs to be in there in the equation. when passion shows thru in the speech, that’s when it starts grabbing people. i wonder if passion can be emulated.

    i know this was not the scope nor the intent of your post.. but that’s the beauty of public posting of random thoughts. we can use them as stepping stones to more generalized applications!

  1. Pingback: Walking Your Talk: When Does an Instructor Need to DO the Thing They TEACH About? « Meme Menagerie

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