How To Communicate #1: Respond To Central Point

This morning I had a casual conversation with my dad at a tea restaurant about a rich Taiwanese guy who manufactures for Under Armour. It went like this: “Because this guy has thousands of employees working for him, the company must be very productive and he must be very rich.”

My refutation was that having high number of employees does not mean the company is productive. I elaborated my argument by saying that a company’s productivity should depend on how productive each employee is, and as there are more employees, how effective the management is. I was then accused of “missing the point.”

As some readers might know, I have always been pretty self-conscious about my communication skills, as noted by many of my previous articles urging myself to improve upon it. Therefore, with such an accusation, I’ve decided to do a full reflection on what happened.

My dad’s central point was to say that the guy is very rich. For more context, he was talking about how my previous middle school at Taiwan is now flooded with rich kids, with an example of the Under Armour guy sending his kids to the school. However, I was indifferent to his point of this guy being rich, and jumped straight to the logic of how my dad arrived to the point. That was a mistake. A good communication should have a healthy feedback loop, and what I should have done is: acknowledge or respond to his central point, no matter how interested I am.

Only after acknowledging the other person’s central point should one move on to another topic, which in my case should be: “Yes, he is rich. Regarding to company’s productivity however…” so I can go on and express my central point that number of employees productivity.

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