I recently was the target of one of those sharp little communication darts that was intended to be a quasi joke. You know the type of comment I mean. Sometimes they’re followed by, “just kidding.”
Buried within the snarky joke-like comment is usually the speaker’s true opinion. It’s the point that they’re too intimidated to voice in a more effective manner.
This communication tactic is used often. I guess I’ve never given it much thought before because it is so prevalent. It has become part of our communication culture.
There were many people present today that heard the comment. In the post comment discussion among those individuals, there was a vast assortment of interpretations of the comment. What was the speaker really trying to say? One thought it was actually a compliment that we were acknowledged by the speaker. In an extreme opposite opinion, another felt it was intensely inappropriate to share an unsubstantiated remark in an open forum where there was no opportunity for rebuttal. There was a common thought among the eight or so people participating in the discussion, however, the comment left us feeling uncomfortable.
I’ve hurled my share of snarky comments. It is because I’m such a seasoned pro, that I feel confident I got the true intent of this speaker’s comment. And yet, even though I got the point of the message, I was offended by the style in which it was delivered. This event has caused me to reexamine my communication style. I challenge you to do the same. Watch those off hand comments. They don’t uplift or inspire. And, they just might offend. Either way, they can diminish your speaking effectiveness and damage your leadership ability. Got that? (Sarcasm implied). Just kidding.
With many years of senior-level human resources experience in the private sector environment, Joyce Chastain brings practical know-how to each engagement. Her human resources consulting practice specializes in talent development, employee relations, internal investigations, employment law compliance, and affirmative action plans. She is the owner of Chastain Consulting and currently serves as the President-elect of HR Florida State Council, Inc.