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communication camouflage

June 30, 2009

in communication

i read a SHRM09 tweet from @thelance that made me laugh in recognition: “hypothetical questions are typically asked by people with agendas.”

communication camouflage, that’s what i’d call what he experienced. there are examples aplenty of orgs using communication camouflage to hide or mitigate bad news. what’s been sticking in my craw are the smaller instances, like hypothetical questions, of communication camouflage. here’s my beginning list. want to add your favs?

  • feedback. it’s not “feedback” when it’s really criticism.
  • input. it’s not “input” if you want to tell me exactly what you want done.
  • dialogue: as in, “let’s dialogue.” let’s not.
  • interesting: we all know this is code for “that’s the lamest idea i’ve ever heard of.”


Leave a Comment

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Roche June 30, 2009 at 11:23 am

I used to tell people who said, “Feedback is a gift,” something: It’s not if it’s just criticism wrapped inside a sin license. Great article.


Crystal Peterson June 30, 2009 at 3:34 pm

Good post, Gran. I love it when someone says they want your input but they’ve already made the decision. Ha, cracks me up every time!


Crystal Peterson June 30, 2009 at 3:36 pm

Sorry, Fran. I think I called you Gran in my post. I’m cracking myself up today. 🙂


Teryl June 30, 2009 at 4:48 pm

Great article Gran. Oops, I mean fan. Would like to dialogue on your interesting input. Here’s a few of my peeves when it comes to feedback:
– Let’s circle back on that (let’s not and just address it now)
– Socialize this (I get it, but hate it)
– Great start (ugh, nice compliment but really saying it stinks)


Colleen June 30, 2009 at 6:28 pm

I agree with your beginning list, except for the first bullet point. Criticism is a form of feedback and criticism can be construtive, if delivered well. Giving hard feedback is one type of communication that I see avoided all too often. It can be called different things, but serious talk needs to be encouraged.


fran June 30, 2009 at 10:36 pm

hey, everyone. thanks for the comments — and the new thoughts on my name 😉 i never did like fran.

teryl, yes! love the circling back….right to the parking lot. and socialize this?! eeewww. i read a tweet today about the “socialprise.” i think these belong in the same category: junk.

colleen, i couldn’t agree more that feedback is very useful, when it’s truly given in the manner you suggest. it’s when it’s not constructive and given under the guise of “feedback” that i have a problem.



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