Had lunch at a favorite restaurant with a friend and ordered one of the items I always enjoy; a veggie burger. It tastes good and they make it crunchy on the outside and I love crunch. I prefer not to eat it with bread and so I told the waiter, “keep the bun”.
When it came it was on a bun, which I began to disassemble. The waiter saw me and asked what was wrong. I said it was no problem, but I had said, “keep the bun”. The waiter replied, “I know that’s why we kept the bun. Many people prefer to leave off the bun.” We laughed at the misunderstanding that I was actually one of those people who thought I was communicating that I didn’t want the bun.
This silly vignette is an example of how easy it is to misunderstand, make false assumptions, believing that what you mean is being heard as you meant it and that if you are the listener, that you are sure you understood what was said. In this case the worst outcome was a wasted bun. In our life and business the stakes are high. It is easy and commonplace to go through the course of the day misinterpreting what we think we are saying or hearing?
Most of us do not take the time to listen as well as a waiter does in the course of his work and yet buns get wasted. Imagine how this common mishap impacts our relationships in our private lives and in our businesses.
In a business partnership miscommunications and false assumptions impact the bottom line and much more? One scenario I’ve seen occur fairly regularly is when partners get along well and are on the same page in the most important areas they then assume that they agree on everything else and skip discussing important matters.
Two brothers made the assumption that they agreed on everything until I asked them each about their long term vision. One said his goal for the business was to make it a success and to sell it in a couple of years. His brother was shocked because he said he wanted to make it a long term success and hand it down to his children.
Listening is the most important skill in communicating, but you also have to make sure you talk about everything http://www.bizpartnerpro.com/bpat/ and don’t make assumptions.
Once spoken always paraphrase what you heard to confirm that you heard correctly. If you are the one who spoke, always ask what was understood so if needed you can clarify or correct.
To upgrade your listening skills you must forego planning your response or desire to make your point. Actively listening will give you the opportunity to also be heard when it is your turn. Give the speaker your full attention and ask questions.
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