Ultimately, the point of communication should be to collaboratively advance an idea, a connection, a relationship, a thought, a plan. That’s the rational business case for communication.
In practice, however, we’re often communicating for other reasons. We communicate to further our need for attention, to express judgement, to advance our agenda, to score points.
That second set of reasons we communicate is at odds with the first set. It’s almost impossible to engage others openly when we’re also judging them, or to build a relationship when we’re vying for attention.
Or, said another way, the default intention always sabotages the deliberate, productive intention.
Default intention thinks it’s there to help us, to do work that we need done. Default intention wants to protect us, to make sure we get credit, to pump us up. It’s relentless in showing up and executing its plan.
The only way to accomplish the true purpose of communication is to be ruthless in identifying these default intentions and working to shift them. We have to commit to this over and over again.
If we agree with the business case for communication, we have to recognize the ways in which we undermine it.