Bimbo Banter

Disagreeing with Calvin Coolidge

  • Wildcard
  • January 7, 2015
  • by Merrie Spaeth

01 07 15 coolidge

Because we’re known for the BIMBO Memo© and its emphasis on how people get in trouble by saying inflammatory or thoughtless things, my son sent me this quote from former President Calvin Coolidge: "I have never been hurt by what I have not said."

In the political world, our first rule is “no mistakes” – because they live forever. However, you actually can be hurt by what’s not said. From the organizational perspective, an enterprise misses an opportunity if it doesn’t enlist its own people, and ultimately its customers.

In our trainings and speeches, we spend most of our time identifying the positive words and stories people should verbalize. Business schools talk a lot about alignment, and the concept also applies to communication.

How many internal presentations have you seen where presenters had thought through what they wanted to say and you could actually spot the “good words,” but then when they move into Q&A, all the “good words” disappear? What does that signify to the audience? The presenter doesn’t believe the words.

I’ve realized we need to emphasize that these lessons apply to personal communication as well. Because of day-to-day stress, we frequently forget to say “good job,” or “thank you” to our co-workers. I’m guilty of this sometimes.

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to do a better job – saying what we should say and not saying what we shouldn’t. Looks like President Coolidge's quote needs a little tweak.

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