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There was a guilty tone in the resolute “no” that my four year old son exclaimed as I asked him if he ate a cookie before dinner. The chocolate on his cheeks did not help build his case. He is a very honest kid and respects authority, but I knew we were stepping into an essential teaching moment. This was the first blatant lie my son had told me to my face. I gave him a few more chances to fess up, then got right into the reality that I knew the truth and he was not telling it.

He broke down in shame and after his punishment, we gathered to learn our lesson. Your words and the honesty you have is more important than almost anything. I explained to him more about trust by using the “peter cried wolf” story and gave him an example of when I had been dishonest and how it hurt someone I loved. At the end of this scenario, he understood the ramifications of not being honest and the importance of doing what you say you are going to do.

As recruiters, we are on the front line with folks seeking to portray themselves as well as possible. This portrayal is not always genuinely truthful and we must be aware of how candidates twist their words. We are grateful for the opportunity to help others in their major life decisions, but are not naïve to believe everything we hear. Way too often people we do business with do not do what they say they will do and often have no remorse for dishonesty. I believe this has come about due to the realities we face in communication.

It is commonplace to never meet the people we do business with face to face anymore. In fact, we do a fair bit of business via email and text message as opposed to the old fashion phone calls or personal get togethers. These less personal forms of communication lead to a psychological shift.

This psychological shift reduces communication from a relational experience to a transactional experience. The factor of the persons emotions, their feelings or their self-worth lessen when communication becomes transactional. I believe one is less likely to have concern over the feelings of another when they cannot see them. Nonverbal communication is said to make up over 90% of communication. If this is true, then we are missing a lot of realities by not doing business in a more personalized manner.

I am not venting (well maybe a little), but with this psychological shift comes a duty for those of us that are on the front line to counteract this trend. We must be intentional about not just what we communicate, but how we communicate. We need to discern when a text message is not appropriate. We need to realize that tough conversations will only lead to growth if had in the right manner. We need to understand that hollow promises conveyed will lead to lack of trust and sustainable relationships.

If I say yes to something, I want to live out that yes. If I say no to something I want to live out that commitment. Loyalty and deeper relationships will be the product of honesty and deliberate communication. So, let’s join together and create another shift… a shift towards honesty, integrity and commitment with those we communicate with.