Effective Communication: Assume Nothing
Written by Renée Safrata - firstname.lastname@example.org, March 16th, 2011
Individuals need to be highly aware of their own assumptions in order to avoid being blinded by missing key data in conversations with co-workers. A critical element of productive conversation is the ability to assess what you really know from what you think you know.
Each of us needs to continually check-out our assumptions to have crystal clear conversations.
Recently, I met with a top executive of a large organization. He is an extremely busy man or rather, that’s the assumption I made. He announced his desire to stay connected with our team project, then stated it was relatively impossible for him to do that based on his schedule.
I asked him how I could support his ability to stay connected to our project, thinking maybe I could produce a dashboard of progress for him. His response was “Just call my assistant to book a face-to-face appointment with me”.
Okay, now this was not the answer I expected.
When I reflected back to him that he had stated it was “relatively impossible for him to connect based on his schedule”, he shook his head and said “Yes that’s right. I can’t connect with the team during their regular progress meetings, as they conflict with my schedule. But, I have many openings to connect with individuals on the team with face-to face meetings in my office and I wish to do so”.
I had made an assumption based on his title in the organization and his statement that he was point-blank too busy. Had I not inquired more deeply, I would not have had a crystal clear understanding of what he meant.
I was missing some key data! Do you have a similar story of how an assumption almost trumped your productivity? Let me know.
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- Emotional Intelligence Can Guide Effective Communication
- Effective Business Meetings: Different Strokes for Different Folks