The “Science” of Workplace Communication & Performance Management

When I was in school I did virtually anything I could to avoid science classes. For some reason they didn’t interest me and bored me to death.

The interesting thing was as a young boy I was totally enamored with astronauts and the United States efforts to put men on the moon and return them safely to earth. I loved the Apollo space program. Yet, I couldn’t make the leap to the science and engineering to make it all happen. Somewhere there was a disconnect.

In college, my communications degree program required only 10 credit hours of math and natural sciences which I focused on the basic math classes of algebra and calculus with one class of astronomy for non-majors.

What does any of this have to do with the work I do know helping improve leadership and workplace communication, you may be asking?

Well, here’s what…

In facilitating a recent client session where we were flushing out some “communication” issues between team members I blurted out the comment that “every human communication is going to have some type of reaction in the person to whom we are communicating.”

In that moment, I realized it was similar to Newton’s third law of physics, “every action has an equal and opposite reaction.”

Similar, but with one big difference.

Often, reactions to communication are not always “equal and opposite.” Nor should we want them to be.

Most times we want the reaction to our communication to be affirming, not opposite. Often, though, we do get the opposite reaction to what we were hoping for. That is where influencing communication skills come in handy.

You’ve probably also had the experience where the reaction to a communication was not only opposite but also unequal. By that I mean someone makes a request, inquiry or statement in a calm, respectful manner and receives an emotional outburst as a reaction that is totally inappropriate and uncalled for.

Similarly, arguments often escalate because each person does react equally to the other’s emotional intensity with a reaction that is not affirming but opposite from what they would like it to be, and the conflict ensues.

These are just some thoughts to build our communication skills that have been coming to me more since raising the issue in last week’s article calling for people to be more “conscious” when they communicate, instead of communicating with their default habits.

’til next time, let me know what you think and leave a comment below. Make it a great week!

P.S. – don’t forget to join me this Thursday, May 17th at 12noon Eastern time for my newest webinar Leadership for the Small Business: Avoiding the 5 Critical Mistakes that Kill Productivity & Profitsclick this link to learn more and register, it’s FREE!

5 thoughts on “The “Science” of Workplace Communication & Performance Management

  1. Shenlee Sires says:

    Great message Skip! I like the analogy you made to Newton’s third law and reinforcement of your article message “calling for people to be more “conscious” when they communicate, instead of communicating with their default habits.” It is a great reminder for me to consider who I’m talking to and meet them on their level, not mine, so that I get the reaction or response I’m hoping for. Thanks for the helpful reminder!

  2. Skip Weisman, Workplace Communication Expert says:

    Thanks for reading and for being inspired to leave a comment. I appreciate the feedback and am please you found value in the article.
    All the best,

  3. Renu Minhas says:

    Hi Skip:
    It is very thought provoking anology. We are not very conscious many a time in our communications, hence the opposite and unequal response. I must say that, being aware of this opposite and unequal response, and approaching crucial communications that matter is the way to go. I look forward to some specific tips in this Thursday session. Thank you.

  4. Ekaterini Vlamis says:


    Love the connection between the science, law in physics, and communication topic. Most interesting connection, never heard that before! Also love that you are reminding people to be more conscious when communicating… words we speak are so powerful and intention of our reason to speak is so important to shape our words or phrases or decision to speak or not to speak. Definitely conscious communication is something I too address/share in my professional development workshops with others. Like that other professionals helping folks with interpersonal communication skills are touching on this as well.

    Ekaterini Vlamis

  5. Skip Weisman, Workplace Communication Expert says:

    Thanks for stopping by and being inspired to leave a comment. I appreciate you adding value to the discussion.
    Please come back and share your thoughts again in the future.

Comments are closed.