I love a good Dilbert and many times, they make me laugh out loud. Every once in a while there is one that not only makes coffee squirt out of my nose, but causes an internal dialogue or some good natured observation about myself or others.
A while ago, there was a comic strip where Dogbert asked a possible CEO replacement if he possessed the skill of blathering, as it was required skill needed for the position. The CEO wanna-be began to spew nonsensical corporate speak that while hysterical, I understood it! That was the funny part. I was laughing at the article and at the same time realized that somehow blathering had a place in society and in some instances it is valued skill.
Is blathering a good or a bad thing? Are you guilty when blathering for the sake of fitting into a conversation? Is blathering so ingrained in the day-to-day conversation of your organization or group that it is no longer blathering, but a new strategic language? Are you no longer sure if you are communicating or blathering? If your blathering is understood, isn't that communication? One thing I know for sure, I am guilty of an occasional bought of blathering. I am not going to beat myself up about it. I am going to embrace it and have a little fun with it.
The question is how far do you go? Where is the line between positioning and spewing nonsense? At what point do you have to say, "oh please" and stop yourself from tipping over into the zone of "what the heck are you talking about"?
There is a sure fire way to test this. It is the 'quick eye'. Here is the scenario: You are at a meeting. You decide to comment and are in the mood for a little blathering. The blathering begins and you are going at it at a pretty good clip. There are confirming nods and that encourages you to blather more. Then you notice 'quick eye'. 'Quick eye' is when someone does not understand what you are saying and that confusion causes rapid eye movement as they quickly look around to see if anyone else is as confused as they are. That is the sure fire sign that you have gone too far and should just stop. There is no graceful way to back out of blather, so just stop, fold your hands and stop talking. It was fun while it lasted.
Dilbert gave us an opportunity to chuckle at something we believed we had passed off as making valid points. We know we are blathering, but somehow we thought no one else could tell. Our need to add value to a conversation turns into something far more sinister. Dare I say even funny? I leave you with this final thought. If you blather in the woods and there is no one around to hear it, is it still blathering?