When you know what to look for, it is easy to spot potential breakdowns in communication. But – if you don’t know what to look for – these miscommunication moments can eat your lunch. It happens all the time. Example:
I tell Robert: “I can bring the burgers and hot dogs to the picnic if you need. Just let me know.”
Robert tells the host: “The burgers and hot dogs have already been handled.”
The host tells me: “Don’t worry about the burgers and hot dogs. It’s already been handled.“
Can you see the potential for breakdown? Who is responsible for the burgers and hot dogs? Me or Robert? No one knows for sure unless they can see the entire conversation flow. Maybe Robert is counting on my original offer….or maybe Robert handled it himself. Only Robert knows for sure. There has been no positive confirmation.
This happens multiple times a day. We’re running at full speed at the office and we sling assumptions around (just like the host did) based on what we last heard (or thought we heard) and yet others think we know for sure.
But we don’t. We know very few things for absolute certainty.
The next time you are tempted to say “that’s handled”…you might want to stop and make sure before you repeat something you heard.
Thanks for listening.
PS: Thank you Tony and Dustin for prodding me to keep writing.