Impact and Aftershocks: What Matters

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Like so many people around the world, I spent most of yesterday glued to the news from the U.S. Capitol and repeatedly checking social media for breaking news and latest developments. I was unable to work on anything requiring focus, including drafting the blog that I would post today.

Now on a calmer day, hoping dearly that calm and order will continue, I’m still trying to process it all. No, the world does not need yet another take on a riotous coup attempt, but nevertheless, I would like to share a few thoughts and words on what happened. The past 24 hours tell us a lot about what matters.

  • The words that we use to describe each other shape the way we treat each other.
  • Words have long-term consequences beyond their immediate impact. Those consequences build (or fester) over time.
  • Communicators should always take timing, tone, and context into account.
  • Norms and ideals are what we create together. They are paradoxically fragile and robust at the same time.
  • Whatever and however we communicate, we can always do better — do better to make it a better world.

As shaken as I felt during yesterday’s awful events, they also reaffirmed one of my most core beliefs. Communication is not just about the words we use or the messages we deliver. Communication is about responsibility.