Wednesday, November 15, 2017


No doubt this sounds like the lead-in to a bad joke. In my defense, it is true. I was sitting in a meeting at work the other day when the earth moved. Our building rocked back and forth for a few seconds. Fortunately, the movement was gentle and lasted only a few seconds. No damage was done and, generally, people carried on with the rest of their day without any other disruptions. Some folks, I learned, were not even aware of what just happened. Still, it turns out, the earthquake registered 5.5 on the Richter Scale. Where I am currently located is in a growing community called Songdo, located just outside of Incheon in South Korea.

The people with whom I was meeting noticed what was going on right away. Our conversation came to an abrupt halt as we looked around us and then moved out into the hallway to check on others and to see what we might be able to find out as to what had happened. When the unexpected or unanticipated occurs, information is vital. What happened yesterday served as a perfect example. People want to know. More importantly, people need to know. In our case, the tremors were slight and brief, so those affected did not need much coaxing to carry on with their normal activities. At the same time, they were able to do so with confidence because they were provided information in a timely manner.

When life suddenly takes a sharp turn, people can easily be knocked off-balance. Depending upon the intensity or gravity of the change, not everyone reacts all that well. Panic and even violence can even ensue. What minimizes the chances of that happening is information put forth in a timely and easily-comprehensible way. Communicating with sensitivity and clarity is the key. Ideally, professional communicators on-hand play that role. But others can, too. Figuratively and even literally, earthquakes occur every day in our lives. Effective communication is the best way to cope.    

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