What to communicate when presented with conflict

What do you say when there are no words to express your despair? How do you rationalize unimaginable sadness and then try and put in words what you feel or what you think is necessary to communicate?

That is the resounding feeling many across Europe feel when considering the current and most likely ongoing refugee crisis emanating primarily from Syria but also from Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq and sub-Saharan Africa.

This crisis has quickly overtaken the public conscious and led to a varied take on how it should be reported, how Western Europe should respond and how we all should see ourselves in this situation. 

As a communications consultancy we feel that the only thing that we can contribute is an avenue to organizations that actually provide direct assistance to the people that our affected by this.

When we say people, we mean the families that are braving the uncertainty of their journey to do what they believe is the best they can in a situation so tragic. When we say people, we mean the young people whose futures are so riddled with obstacles that their only opportunity lies in a path that many, at least many in the West, could not even imagine.

When we say people, we mean those people who had hopes and dreams just like us, but now find themselves facing the insurmountable and yet still find the capacity to smile and move forward because that is all they can do. 

To help in Oslo, contact the following organizations to see what you can do,

International Organization for Migration

Norwegian Refugee Council


Organizational Culture & Us

From an organizational view, we can definitely link the patterns we follow or set as part of our communication to how we are seen, appreciated and understood within our professional group or team.


Organizational culture, tends to provide the precedence for what we consider as valuable contribution from our employees. In working with many diverse organizations we see a direct link between an organization's perceived success in communication and the level of commitment they set aside to developing the way their company and employees communicate. Simply put, the more you invest in raising the awareness of your people, the greater the likelihood that they will be better communicators.  This is not just a question of money, but time. Our level of awareness can be negatively affected by our environment. Having a leader that does not support or justify a need to continuously and dynamically develop our communication skills makes it more difficult to raise the expectations of our team members. Therefore it is essential to place communication, in a more proactive way, near the top of our shared values. The way we assess and evaluate performance should be tied to the way we communicate. Are you clear? Are you easy to understand and follow? Do you communicate well in our shared environment? These are questions that should dictate the way our unit or company functions. 



Get to the damn point! #GTTDP

Success requires preparation, persistence and personality.

What does that really mean? Everyone, frankly speaking, is aware of what it requires to be successful, or least understands that you need to be prepared, driven and capable to make the most out of the opportunities that come your way. You are not going to forget to put your pants or dress on prior to going to that important interview, because you are prepared, at least we can hope.

When you go online or listen to anything remotely motivational, you are blitzed by this maze of cliches that if spoken by the "right" orator sound as we have never heard or seen such wonderful ideas before in our lives. This, unfortunately, is the downside of your typical communicator attempting to do their version of a Ted Talk. Great presentation, great person, empty content.

Living and working in Norway over the past few years has really solidified and shown the value of the idea of less is more and the tried and tested concept of GTTDP. 

Get To The Damn Point

Get to the damn point, is the simplest way that I can explain what goes on in my head when I am confronted by anything resembling skepticism, confusion or indifference in my line of work. When you see someone nodding off in a meeting, GTTDP. When you feel like what you said was misunderstood or even better, completely ignored, GTTDP. When you think you are spending too much time explaining something, GTTDP. When you think you should repeat a message, GTTDP. When all else fails GTTDP.

To get to the damn point, remember that in this day and age we are given only so long to communicate what it is we want to say and taking that into perspective we need to understand how to quickly and efficiently get to the point. No need for cliches, no need to acronyms. Just you, your voice and your thoughts. 

What you should say vs. what you actually said..

From a business perspective it is very important to understand the difference between what you should say as opposed to what most of us actually say.

Here are a couple of examples of words or phrases that many struggle with...

Cheaper vs. Less Expensive

It is smarter to use less expensive or inexpensive  instead of the word cheaper, as the interpretation of the word cheaper may imply less quality when that isn't necessarily the case. Additionally cheaper is also more informal, while the other is more formal. Another way of saying cheaper is to say more economical.

Insure vs. Ensure

Insure means to protect, while ensure means to guarantee many do not know the difference between the two.

Contract vs. Agreement

A contract has a negative orientation while an agreement has a positive orientation.  An agreement is just that, an AGREEment between two parties. Consider replacing contract with agreement next time you are negotiating.

These are just some examples that we have come across in our work, however there are plenty of others.

People usually remember us for the things we do not the things we say. So whether you make a mistake or misspeak focus on making yourself clear and understood. Take the action to help your audience engage in your ideas and show it by actively improving your awareness of what they hear as opposed to what you are saying.

That little effort will leave a much more sustainable impression moving forward.

A Question of Motivation

Recently, an article was published in a local newspaper, Dagens Næringsliv (DN), which addressed the perception of motivation. The article analyzed short- versus long-term motivation. It deliberated what is sustainable and what is temporary and how that influences a person's overall capacity to perform.

This hit close to home in regard to the work that Extent does with clients in that, motivation from a leadership perspective is an essential building block in refining the way we communicate. We stress word choice based on factors that influence how a message might be received or interpreted. Motivation plays a significant part in helping us communicate more clearly and effectively by making wiser word or phrase selections.

A lot of the issues we discuss with our clients are connected to motivation and how we can influence a stronger more proactive atmosphere by improving our communication. One of the topics the article discusses is the need for happiness. How we interpret happiness at face value in a professional setting could be how we are perceived, especially in social settings at work. A deeper happiness comes from being "heard" and "respected". A leader who takes the time to acknowledge his or her staff by listening, accepting and implementing the ideas, views and emotions of others will, more than likely, have a more sustainable motivational effect on the team.