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Can We Talk?

Opening the lines of communication

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This story appears in the July 1996 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

How well does your family communicate? Consider these situations: 1. When you and a family member have tension at work, do you communicate your feelings directly to one another? 2. When you have a business discussion with your family, do you spend more time presenting your own viewpoint than listening to others? 3. Are there some family members whose overpowering manner intimidates others? 4. Do you or other family members have difficulty disagreeing with each other? 5. When talking to another family member about a business issue, do you sometimes feel there's more to the discussion than the issue at hand? 6. Are there "undiscussable" topics you and your family never talk about because they stir up unpleasant memories or are too "hot" to handle (such as someone's substance abuse problem)? 7. When someone does something well, do you and other family members make it a point to compliment each other? 8. Do you and your family members often laugh together?

If you answered yes to questions 1, 7 and 8 and no to the others, read no further. You have reached a communications pinnacle. Much like the four Shooster "kids," who oversee operations at Communications Service Centers, a call center specializing in distributing information and fulfilling product orders for a variety of clients, you probably learned the art of communication early on.

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