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“Talk to Me,” . . .

BUT Please BE KIND!

The advent of social media and all things electronic have changed the way we communicate. While it’s awesome to text with another Christian business woman halfway around the world; it’s not nearly as warm and personal as doing so face to face; something mostly impossible before “smart” phones!

A professional life event earlier this week provided the fodder for this week’s post. PAPA God is allowing life events to shape my thoughts and form the platform for each week’s blog. This one is no exception!

I’m Not a Child, So Don’t Treat Me Like One!

I made a mistake. And it was a very public one. At the time I posted a regular column in our local newspaper, I thought I was saying the right thing. Then an angry disrespectful email arrived in my inbox that rocked me on my heels.

It takes a lot to rock me on my heels at this point in my vintage life. But being treated like a child who needs disciplining is not something I take lightly. A mistake is a mistake. First find out why I made it; what assumption I was working under, then inform me that my understanding was incorrect. And do it in such a way that maintains my integrity as a mature woman. . . not an unruly child! Seems that some teachers can’t separate us adults from their kiddies when communicating either electronically or face-to-face.

Misunderstandings, Assumptions & Failure to Share!

As I look back on the past several days of misunderstandings, assumptions (you know what those do) and a failure to share critically important information with others; I can now laugh. Well at least smile.

In a nutshell, here’s what happened . I wrote the monthly newspaper column for our local grassroots organization. I failed to specifically recognize a donor because I had been told I had to wait until the donor made the gift public. Seems that was incorrect because over the years, the rules had changed.

The donor source let a volunteer (albeit a rather important volunteer) know of my faux pas. The volunteer took me to task in a manner reminiscent of when I was in grade school and messed up. In the midst of the chide was mention of a document of which I was unaware. And others who were cc’d on the email were unaware. The document contained the facts about what the donor wants when publicizing the award.

My prayer was for wisdom and advice on how to handle the situation. The following morning, my prayer was answered. Get a copy of the document and track down all available information relative to the donor’s gift and find out who knew what when!

An important document didn’t get where it needed to be.That led to my not having the correct info for the newspaper column. The volunteer didn’t know not to have signed the document without sharing for direction before doing so; and the importance of sharing with all involved parties! Some folks observations were a bit skewed, including yours truly which compounded the entire episode. And the organization had not yet completed policies and procedures for handling such situations in the future. A real mess. . .

All around miscommunication, assumptions and a failure to abide by business and professional standards for electronic communication!

Life Events Hold The Answers!

Now that the dust has settled and emotions appear to have cooled; I can look at the situation and discern how we can use it to hopefully avoid similar ‘drama’ as we move forward. Perhaps my discernment will be helpful to you as well. . .

  1. When an electronic communication comes across as less than friendly; apply the 10 + 40 rule. The count to 10 and then to 50 before responding. Walk around as you count and if the emotion of the moment is still strong. . . don’t respond at all! At least until you can do so without an “eye for an eye” with words!
  2. Ask for wisdom and advice. Not just how to respond; but for understanding what’s really going on. Seeking insight into what’s behind the ‘drama’ reduces the emotions and helps us get in a rational mental state. Envision it’s the Lord-in-you that’s preparing to respond!
  3. Seek to learn how to use the situation as a “teaching moment”. For self and the other or others. Most disruptive episodes in life have at their core an opportunity to learn – and to teach others what we’ve learned or come to know.

For us as Christian business women; learning how best to communicate electronically will help us practice good ole fashioned etiquette.

  1. Always copy (cc) all involved parties to keep everyone in the loop as to what is going on. However, if the communication is only to you, see and use #3 below!
  2. Use #1 in the previous section when negative emotions well up and you are chomping to chomp on the other!
  3. Ask permission to share with others you feel should be in the “know” before copying to others when the communication is sent just to you.
  4. Ask for clarity. Ask, ask, ask until you get clarity in order to avoid making assumptions that are almost always incorrect.
  5. Read and re-read the communication to you. And read, read read your response before hitting “send” to make certain you are saying enough to state your position as clearly, and kindly, as possible.
  6. Share how the communication makes you feel without doing so in an accusatory manner. Avoid use of “you” statements as much as possible. Do everything possible to separate the person from the behavior (you know separate the sin from the sinner!).

I could say more, but again this has gotten longer than I planned. Remember that while electronic communication is an awesome efficient way to “talk” to others; it ought be done with the same sense of propriety and dignity one would expect when communicating face-to-face.

Blessings,

Linda S. Fitzgerald, M.S.Ed, CEO & Visionary Partner
A Women’s Place Network, Inc. dba
Affiliated Women International
Building Community for Christian Business Women ~ One Neighborhood At a Time!
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I’m Visionary Partner for Affiliated Women International (AWI) and have a fiery passion to see women become all they are designed to be – personally, professionally and spiritually. The AWI mission is to connect Christian women in business worldwide via our private ‘The Neighborhood’ network community. We inspire, educate, motivate and inform our members for success and encourage them to help each other succeed in life and business![/author_info] [/author]

 

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