Compassion and communications: why being human matters

My NOW Communications coworker Kristen Keighley-Wight has a terrific post today about why you need to talk less about yourself, and more about your audience: their values, their concerns, the way your issues affect them.

It’s a welcome antidote to a disease that can strike any of us. We can work so hard for so long on issues that we start to mistake inside baseball for real-world outcomes.

But sometimes it gets much worse than that. Some people get so swept up in scoring points that they forget the human side of an issue altogether.

That’s the most generous construction you can put on Conservative MP Robert Goguen’s appalling questions yesterday to Timea Nagy, who was testifying before a parliamentary committee on a federal bill tightening laws on prostitution. She’s a sexual assault survivor and the founder of an organization helping victims of human trafficking like herself.

I’m not going to include Goguen’s questions here. To see the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice try to use Ms. Nagy’s experience of rape as fodder for an intellectually dishonest argument, watch the exchange here or read about it here. (Trigger warning.)

While it’s hard to imagine anyone I work with getting so detached from their own humanity that they could do anything quite this bad, it can serve as a crucial reminder. No matter how contentious an issue becomes, compassion must never be far from communication — and personal suffering must never become a political punchline.

Whaddaya think?