According to dictionary.com, is an adjective meaning: 1. of resembling, or covered with fluff. 2. light and airy 3. having little or no intellectual weight; superficial or frivolous


There is much talk in the workplace centered around “the soft, fluffy people stuff”; that which often generates some frustration and usually delivered with verbal disdain or big sighs. It’s the difficult words thrown in the air all regarding the softer side of the workplace.

In the world of uber fast changing technology, the importance of recognizing and practicing  good communication skills only intensifies. It is so easy to get focused in task and technology that we devalue relationships necessary for connections, relationships, growth and innovation.

When the soft-fluffy talk occurs, it is a symptom of a much greater dilemma. It means that not only that there is discomfort with interpersonal exchange, but there is a problem with verbal expression, a lack of how-to communication skills and a lack of emotional intelligence. For some it may be far too close to an image they are trying to protect…or it’s the fear button that may have been pushed.

The most basic idea to understand is that the culture of any community, work or civil groups are created/maintained by its most important asset; its people, and yes it’s personal. Any research (Internet, education, or statistic) performed today provides a plethora of proof in the importance of relationships at work. These relationships are not limited to the internal environment , but reach business to business, customer and any network that one may interact within the business world.

Some of the most compelling data comes from Dr. Alex Pentland, Human Dynamics Lab at MIT. Dr. Pentland and his team have created a badge, that has the capability to gather some very human characteristics to measure where we have never gone before; the team environment in the workplace. The data painted a picture of the importance of working together by collecting from breathing patterns, reactions and many more non-verbal communication attributes. So detailed is this information, that they could determine as an example, if a particular team studied could collaborate to complete a successful project.

Rethink  the ‘soft, fluffy’ talk and the human emotions or other motivating factors behind those kinds of reactions. Open the door to flipping the pessimistic words into something greater;an open mind, compassion and a desire to build new bridges.

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