Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Little Information, Please

Please give me the minimum amount of information with the maximum amount of politeness.(Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis)

This statement provides me with yet one more reason to adore the late JBKO. In this age of information, one can literally become overwhelmed by it all. It doesn’t help, either, if you find yourself stuck with Chatty Cathys all day long.

Why do so many feel the need to purge themselves by talking incessantly about anything and everything? Do we owe it to “reality” TV, where so many people have license to say and do the most outrageous things? Do we owe it to cable news and the internet, where up-to-the-minute reporting prevails? Or is our society becoming so narcissistic that we naturally assume the rest of the world sits on the edge of its seat, waiting impatiently for our next word?

I enjoy good storytellers, provided that they’re actually telling a good story. I don’t enjoy rambling accounts of mundane activities. I don’t enjoy hearing private information that should only be discussed with one’s spouse/doctor/priest/therapist. I don’t enjoy someone telling me how fabulous he is – his actions should reveal it, not his words. I really don’t enjoy repeat offenders – those who tell the same tale over…and over….and over.

And please don’t get me started on those who walk through stores and other public places chatting on their cell phones. Take it to a more discrete location, and finish your conversation, please.

A mentor of mine kept a book on her desk entitled With Silence Comes Wisdom. She lived it, too, by working hard and not partaking in the typical water cooler conversations. She told us what we needed to know, and did so graciously.

My mentor never sat in another’s office for minutes on end, keeping them from their work. Before any conversation, she asked, “How are you?” and really listened to the response. She seemed genuinely more interested in hearing about other people. As a result, she got the best out of her employees.

That, in my opinion, exemplifies grace. It’s also great communication tactic. She accomplished extraordinary things with little verbal fanfare, much like the aforementioned JBKO.

With silence comes wisdom. So true.

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