People Skills-The Gift of Expression

                      When is it Appropriate to Speak Up ( Part Two).

Following on from my recent post (When is it Appropriate to Speak Up) I would like to broach the subject of changes of behaviour today and the use of judgement. Why it has to become a major element in our educational system.

For most people the fact we have free and open expression in our societies which perhaps is taken for granted as distinct from those countries where it is still too be attained.

History is littered with numerous hard-fought battles to achieve this status, even today the fight to have the right to have unfettered views aired is still a feature of our society.

It has been a noble aspiration but the development of technology and growing social change has led to the whole atmosphere regarding social discourse.

It would be very churlish on my part to start criticising today’s modus operandi as the need to recognise the benefits these new platforms bring into our lives. My career history contains a number of episodes where I have expressed views at the wrong time.

One such episode occurred early in my business career when I was invited as a junior participant to a high-level meeting to discuss a possible investment in my company. Negotiations turned out to be tough, long and protracted. Feeling increasingly irritated I blurted out the comment ” Why don’t you put your money where your mouth is”, as the words fell from my lips I wished a hole would appear and swallow me up. In other words, my brain had switched to neutral without consideration of my actions. A lesson that was painful learned.

In business as in life, emotions can get the better of you and all logic goes out of the window.

The opportunity for us to express different points of view are endless in fact we have never had so many avenues for expression which on the whole should be thought as great strides in our society’s development.

Sadly that ethic has been derailed with the input of a number of negative elements creating a very unhealthy situation. That freedom of expression should include some code of self-discipline which includes knowledge of the subject which can be backed up with facts together with a balanced argument. Clearly, this is not happening as more and more opinions are being expressed with both flimsy content and intolerance being displayed against a contrary view, this is causing a serious breakdown of communication in many forums.

It appears we are all guilty of quickly forming opinions which have no basis in fact, leading to bad outcomes. One cannot discuss this aspect of judgement without the role of media which now have the tools and ability to influence global audiences .Of course there are two sides to this opinion but i suppose does this add to the richness of life, the prospect does not look good unless we can teach the next generation the skill of judgement in their comunications.

Unfortunately I base my recent pessisim on the growing opionions being echoed my employers in the workplace contained in yet another survey( 4000 respondents) by Linkedin which cites the number one issue concerning them for the future are People Skills.Exercising judgement being one of them.

Like the previous fight to be heard we need to adapt to our modern circumstanses if not, we will lose our abilty to interact and arrive at sensible decisions to the benefit to us all lost. It might sound idealistic but the warning signs are beginning to manifest themselves. This is something that we do not have time to work out, it is here on our doorstep knocking on our door.

Ken Wood