In a piece from ACC Docket, Roel Staes, Senior VP and General Counsel of FedEx Express, does a nifty job of laying out his 8 golden rules for effective communication by telling a story about how he broke the first rule: “Do not speak unless you have something to say.” He was a newly minted senior executive — “proud to be around the big kids without adult supervision,” as he puts it — when the most senior executive at a meeting dropped a bomb in his lap. “How do you think we should handle the situation in Russia?” Clueless about said situation, he nonetheless did the lawyerly thing and confidently spewed out a stream of nonsense assuming his erudition and self-assurance would wow his fellow execs into thinking he was all over the situation in Russia. “Problem was,” he writes, “everybody in the room did know, so I had just left a pretty poor impression on the senior leaders of my company.” Fortunately, Staes learned his lesson. “[B]y practicing the art of communication over the past two decades, making many mistakes, hitting a few brick walls, and mostly looking at how others communicate effectively,” he writes, “I developed a set of golden rules that I apply every working day.” Check out “The General (Communications) Counsel” at ACC Docket.