I was in a meeting a few weeks ago with a business associate and we were talking about what it means to collaborate.
When he finished his long definition, I made the statement that what he said sounds like adaptability and not collaboration.
Here looked at me as said, “You just made me wrong.”
I have been thinking about this meeting and his statement for a while and I asked myself this question: By suggesting a different definition of what he was saying, did I make him wrong? Or did he decide, that by not agreeing with him, he was wrong.
What I realized is this form of miscommunication is what causes problems in all relationships: family, business, friends, etc.
Recently, I wanted to attend an event and I could not make it because of a schedule conflict. I called the creator of the event and express a desire to attend and I was unable because of a schedule conflict. His comment was, “we can’t please everyone.”
What he was really saying is when you do an event it is hard to accommodate all schedules. What I heard was, “you are not that important.” I know this individual and we discussed the implications of that discussion and we both realized we did not communicate effectively.
Do we make others feel wrong, unimportant or insignificant? Is it our beliefs that make us feel wrong, unimportant or insignificant?
Did the transmitter communicate wrongness or did the receiver translate what was said into wrongness?
This is where the sales process breaks down. We use words and communicate that meaning that both the transmitter and the receiver do not understand to have the same meeting.
I was in a meeting and the individual used the words, “I want to create a community of…”
When I heard the words “community” I think Facebook, LinkedIn, Monster, etc. I then asked what the word community meant and she gave me an entirely different definition. If I did not ask that question I would have taken her down a marketing path that was not what she wanted to achieve.
The real lesson here is ask, don’t assume. Clarify your words and don’t expect the receiver to understand your meaning. If you are the receiver it is ok to ask for clarification.