An old cowboy was standing by the grave of his beloved wife of many years. He said to someone next to him, “She wuz a good wife…yes she wuz. And one time ah came purty near tellin’ her so.”
As the manager of a call center of attorneys, who together handle 200 to 300 legal matters each day, I see how often a lack of communication leads to problems. When we don’t communicate well, it leads to all kinds of issues, both in our personal lives, with our co-workers, and regarding our legal matters.
Consider the following:
- A husband and wife don’t communicate well regarding a minor financial matter at home, which leads to frustration in their marriage.
- A co-worker who is part of a team doesn’t inform her team members that she has to be gone unexpectedly, and when they realize it, they have to scramble at the last minute to cover the tasks the co-worker was supposed to do.
- A contractor doesn’t explain well when some unexpected issues come up in the project, and the homeowner becomes upset about the delays and starts thinking about filing a complaint with the Registrar of Contractors.
- A lawyer and her client do not communicate clearly as to when something will be done and what it will cost, leaving both of them frustrated with each other.
- A man has financial troubles and is unable to pay a debt that he owes to his friend, but he decides not to say anything about it.
All of the prior scenarios affect the relationships of those involved. In some cases, the effect is minor, but in other cases, or if allowed to continue over time, the effect can become major and can damage the relationship. When relationships are damaged, it can lead to mere frustration on one end of the spectrum, to serious consequences and even expensive claims or legal proceedings on the other end of the spectrum. It can even destroy the peace and prosperity of those involved (and their businesses) and change people’s lives for many years.
I am sure there are many legal problems that were resolved or avoided because someone at some point decided to communicate well, and talked with their opponent about the situation so they could work out a solution.
Imagine how much better your life would be, and the lives of those around you, if each person were committed to being a better communicator. I know one thing for sure – my team of attorneys would get fewer calls each day, because fewer people would be frustrated with the legal situation they were in. Communication is like water. It affects all that we do in our lives. If we communicate well, it will be the fluid to soothe many problems in our lives, in our jobs, and in our legal relationships with those around us.