Speak So Others Can Understand

I ordered curtains the other day and looked forward to getting them and putting them up. I was disappointed when they arrived. They were 108″ long. I needed 108″ wide.

The tag in the store hadn’t specified long or wide. I made the assumption it was wide, they made the assumption I was curtain-wise and would know it was long. When I mentioned it to the sales clerk and suggested they put “long” on the sign next to the measurement she brushed off my comment, with a look similar to the one I am sure is on my face when I read the directions on a hair dryer that says, “Don’t use this in the shower.”  Like, “Who wouldn’t know that???”

We assume people have the same experiences we have. We assume they speak the same language we do. Those assumptions make for a lot of confusion in the world. No, not everybody knows the “right” way to write a report, the “right” wine with fish, the “right” way to respond to a criticism or even the “right” way to load the dishwasher. Actually, there is no “right” way, there’s just the way you think it should be done or the way people in your world do things. Then when people are different we judge them as “wrong.”

First step in speaking so others understand is to listen to them. Learn how they speak and how they interpret words. To say it’s a “balmy” day tells an American it’s pleasantly warm, but a Brit hears that it’s an insane day. Same word, different interpretation. Be clear in how you speak; and it never hurts to ask if you’re understood.

(also published in the ebook “Living the 55 Concepts.” 55 Concepts Book and Audio available at LivingConcepts1.com)


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