What I Said and What Did You Hear

What I said might be or not be right, but anyway, often we say something and people hear a different thing.

what i said

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Early on a Saturday morning I went to the pharmacy to get some stuff. Don’t panic, I am fine, just needed some basic parapharmaceuticals: nose drops for the eyes, puppies Band-Aid and some pacifiers for the cats. 

Well, while I waited in line, there was this lady asking about calcium, magnesium and other minerals useful to keep the engine running smoothly – she wanted a specific brand though, from a famous healer, a so called doctor… Dr. Oetker?!?

At first I didn’t even realize what was so odd about her request, but picked it up quickly when the pharmacist started laughing – lucky for all of us, she was not sipping some drink at that time. So, she started displaying a whole range of products from a Dr. Hertz (not Oetker) until the client picked what she needed. 

The point I am trying to make here is that the kind pharmacist managed to help without making the customer feel uncomfortable and the second, we, as organizations, can make ourselves understood a little clearer.

What you SHOULDN’T DO while communicating on behalf of a corporation:

  • Check to see if that particular channel of communication is working. If not, try another. When your emails don’t get an answer, sending another 3 on the same topic will rarely solve the issue. Call the recipient and specifically ask for an answer, mentioning also your appreciation for a more prompt reaction next time;
  • Don’t leave anyone wondering, lack of communication is way worse than bad communication;
  • Don’t use one-sided feedback. Ask your interlocutor what you can change in the relation. It’s especially important if you are their manager and should also make a habit out of it, not ask every five years;
  • Don’t ignore the small victories and show appreciation when needed;
  • Don’t assume stuff, starting with performance and ending with being understood;
  • Don’t generalize and don’t exaggerate, no matter the topic;
  • Don’t attack the person or call bad names, not even in self-defense. You need to point out to the situation and its effects, not the person behind it. Cursing is never a good idea;
  • Don’t send messages without double-checking them first. There are a lot of dark places auto-correct can place you in, so that no bleach can clean up afterwards;
  • Don’t shout and don’t even start explaining you have a high pitched voice;
  • Don’t excuse yourself for every little thing. “Pardon me, you stepped on my foot!” really?
  • aVoid communicating when you are nervous. Park it for the day, so you can cool down;
  • Don’t use many words, no matter if we are talking about written or verbal communication. People get bored really quickly;
  • Don’t keep your eyes on your computer/phone when someone is addressing you;
  • Don’t assume that if someone is listening is also agreeing with you;
  • Don’t ignore the non-verbal messages you receive. This is one reason why face to face communication is preferable.

Most of the trivia above you can apply with your loved ones. However, most often we choose not to. 

We should acknowledge that if we are not part of the solution, we are probably part of the problem. 

Good luck communicating!

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