A classic phrase – oft repeated and referenced – from the 1967 film “Cool Hand Luke”. The saying has endured the test of time and continues to have strong relevance in modern day communication.

In the film prison warden ‘Captain’, played by Strother Martin, uttered the saying after receiving a sarcastic remark from his prisoner Luke, played by Paul Newman.

Captain: “You gonna get used to wearing them chains after a while, Luke. Don’t you never stop listening to them clinking, ’cause they gonna remind you what I been saying for your own good.”

Luke: (sarcastically) “I wish you’d stop being so good to me, Cap’n.”

Captain: “Don’t you ever talk that way to me.” (pause, then hitting him) “NEVER! NEVER!” (Luke rolls down hill; to other prisoners)

“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate. Some men you just can’t reach. So, you get what we had here last week, which is the way he wants it. Well, he gets it. I don’t like it any more than you men.”

Emotion triggers reaction not response. The reactor then justifies away the behavior [I don’t like it any more than you men] claiming “he/she made me do it” [… which is the way he wants it. Well he gets it.]

Failure to communicate is as common as dandelions in the spring and snowflakes in winter primarily because communication is a highly charged emotional interaction. To steal from the prose stylization of the ’60’s: you gonna avoid failure to communicate by maintaining control; control of YOU. Maintain control of your emotion and you gain control of the situation. And when you control the situation you become a powerhouse influencer attracting all the gains and benefits in reputation, image and charisma.

To your success!