Last night on the big screen, once again, I saw the National Theater Live performance of the Shakespearean play Hamlet. My conclusion was the same:
Benedict Cumberbatch is brilliant. Forget the good looks, I’m serious: his acting, most assuredly, is at the top of his game.
Some don’t like Shakespeare because it’s “too hard to understand.” Fair enough. It takes focus and thought to slide into the old style and stay there — and even then, Shakespeare might not be to your taste. But a skilled actor using his eyes, face, body, and voice to punctuate the words with clear meaning — ah, now that makes taking in Shakespeare easy.
I’ll say it again: Drenching the familiar line “to be or not to be” with the nuance of varying pitch, a full range of tone, and with meticulously-timed pauses and pacing — with every shoulder raise and eyebrow twitch echoing the intent of the great master’s storyline — makes Shakespeare’s meaning full and understood.
Here’s the truth:
Small things, when added together, make brilliant communication. And we all know, to understand each other clearly is so, so key.
Which brings me to a pet peeve.
(This is for all of us.)
It’s the faux pas of not responding to someone’s communication. As in, you send an email and there’s no reply back — not even a two-second, “Thanks — got it!”
A deadly idea (and practice) has crept into our professional and personal lives — one that frustrates the receiver and kills relationships:
“To answer or not to answer — that is the question.”
(That’s not the question.)
When someone doesn’t reply, how do you feel? What do you think — about them, about the situation — when you’re left wondering if your words fell flat and went splat on the floor?
It’s never good.
Please. On email, have the wherewithal to take two seconds to say, got it — have to run — will send a full response later today. In person, have the internal state and emotional intelligence resources to say, great question — let me think about it… or, I hear you — let’s talk about it more… or even, hmm, I hear what you’re saying — let’s make sure we talk about that at x-time together, when I’m free and can give you my full attention.
To answer or not to answer —
That should never be the question.