Everyone could benefit from a legal mentor: a trusted generalist with some knowledge of the law. Lawyers, by the way, are sometimes censured for failing to communicate with their clients. This, for me, rises to the level of legal heresy. Lawyers who fail to communicate with clients about important issues are, in my opinion, a nuisance to the profession. Unfortunately, they’re not alone. Failure to communicate is an international endemic tragedy. I just finished a biography on the early life of Winston Churchill, chronicling events leading up to World War I. That horrible war, it seems, was precipitated, at least in part, by European statesmen of that era pouting egotistically when they should have been communicating honestly and passionately. Churchill warned that the “wars of peoples would be far more terrible than the wars of kings.” He was right. But no one was listening. Communication is much more critical in this age of nuclear weapons. Fast-war, like fast-food, is deleterious to our health.
How many times have we stood at a fast-food counter waiting to be recognized while the order-taker stairs into space and swats at register-circling-flies, in lieu of smiling, greeting us warmly and looking us in the eyes? “May I take your order, sir / ma’am?” Is it that difficult to say? Do people not understand that failing to communicate is, in effect, a deafening declaration of incompetence? And when we communicate, it helps to be honest. Ask journalist Brian Williams.
Is honesty still relevant? Has the world so spun off its rational axis that no one really expects honesty anymore? And when honesty does surface above the mendacious tide of human discourse, doesn't it seem that the thought-police are always right there to rebuke the truth in deference to the verbal compost of political correctness? With so much talk about issues surrounding marriage these days, wouldn't it be wise to contemplate what makes the institution work to begin with? Might it be the fair twins of honesty and communication? I wonder how the divorce rate might be subdued if couples were honest with each other and the Creator of marriage—before entering in.
Please note: I was prompted to pen this diatribe on “communication and honesty” after receiving a computer-generated reply to my e-mail requesting attention to a matter important to me. The reply stated that the recipient read my communication on February 11, 2015. But I sent the e-mail on October 12, 2014—four months earlier! Swat. Swat. I was about to turn and walk away from the counter when, probably by accident, my supplier decided to smile and speak.
Failing to honestly communicate is simply bad business. It’s bad for husbands and wives, employers, employees, customers, economies and world civilization. It’s what’s wrong with ObamaCare. It’s what’s wrong with fast-food restaurants. It’s why the winged-critters of outrage often supplant the virtues of friendly commerce. Want to succeed in life, love and business? Be honest! Communicate clearly and often! Communicating honestly will save you time, money, and heartache.
Jeff Barganier spent 2.5 years in a bank trust department, 2 years as associate general counsel to a real estate securities firm and 17 years as a financial adviser. Today, he makes his living as an attorney, writer and entrepreneur. Click here to read his full biography.
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The opinions expressed in this blog post are the author's own, and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Red Oak Legal, PC.