Monday, December 5, 2011

Nothing at All

Alison Krauss, a popular country singer, had a hit 15 years ago with the song, When You Say Nothing at All. The main chorus contains the line, "You say it best when you say nothing at all". This song represents a celebration of the sweet, simple, and beautiful non-verbal communication between lovers. However, over the years this tag line is applicable to me on a whole different plane. Perhaps you can relate to this story as well.

The other day someone came into my office to complain about something. While they had a fire lit under their backside, it was a point that I really didn't give a hoot about. What I should have done was to hear them out, nod my head supportively whilst they vented and carried on, and then let them go on their way. That would have been the end of it and the smoke would have quickly dissipated.

Instead, their attitude and attack formation set me off first in a defensive counter-attack, and then into a full-on frontal assault. I proceeded to tell them they were wrong, demonstrate their wrongness in as condescending a manner as possible, and then I wonked them over the head a couple of times with a verbal hammer until there was enough tension in the air to peel the paint off the walls. Yeah, I should have said nothing at all.