Corporate HallucinationsWelcome to communication hell

Forget Dante … there are really only two levels of hell.

There is the first level—which is what people are willing to talk about in the actual seminar, in front of their peers. Level One has to do with overblown approval processes, asinine middle managers, goose-stepping lawyers who thwart communications at every turn, designers who never read the text, and IT people who treat the intranet as their own personal playground.

And then there’s the second level of hell. This is the stuff people don’t talk about at the seminar, because they’re too embarrassed to bring it up, or they’re afraid nobody will believe them, or they have been too emotionally damaged by what happened to them to relive it in front of 60 other people.

I know about the existence of this second level of hell because I drink. And, after a seminar is over, I almost always try to round up a group of attendees to have drinks in the hotel bar.

And after that first martini or glass of wine, tongues start to loosen. The real stories start to come out. The Level Two stories … the ones I would have a hard time believing if the communicator wasn’t sitting right in front of me telling the story.

I recently finished the Washington D.C. and New York seminars … and heard some good Level Two stories from both. I’ll share some of them with you. Here’s the first.

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