Communication Skills

[Good] Communication Takes Effort

Here’s my story:

One night after work my wife told me about a new restaurant she had heard about from a few different people. They all said that it was something we should try. According to my wife, the restaurant’s name was “Pedro’s Grill” and it was located next to one of our favorite restaurants – Mez Contemporary Mexican.

We both love Mexican food so we decided to try Pedro’s Grill. And, from the description, its location was fairly close to our home. So I went online and Googled Pedro’s Grill and paired it with a few different towns that are near us (Durham, Morrisville, Raleigh, Cary, etc.). Nothing. Nada.

Then I Googled “new Mexican restaurants” in the area. Nothing close to a Pedro’s Grill. I checked with Scotti and she had it on good authority that it was located right next to Mez on Page Road.

Finally, we decided to drive out there and just scope out the situation. If we couldn’t find Pedro’s Grill, we could always get dinner at Mez. No big deal. So we drove out there and began looking for this new restaurant. Just past Mez was a new building that seemed to be what we were looking for. As we approached the new building the sign with the restaurant’s name came into view:

Page Road Grill,

not Pedro’s Grill.

Think about how easy it was for that miscommunication to take place. Someone rattled off the name, Page Road Grill, and Scotti heard Pedro’s Grill. She probably had Mexican food on the brain! And that was it. Why would she even need to clarify things? She heard Pedro’s Grill and had no reason to doubt what she heard.

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 9.01.17 AMMy point is that I see so much miscommunication take place in business because people don’t slow down and take the time to clarify what is being communicated. “So, let me play back what I heard from you.” “Based on this conversation, here are my action items.” For good communication to occur it takes a concerted effort. One of the great challenges with communication is that we know what it is that we are trying to communicate. The listener does not. this is particularly relevant with email communication. My advice: be clear and direct. And if you think there’s a chance for miscommunication, have a face-to-face conversation or pick up the phone! I’ve seen emails flying back and forth over a simple miscommunication that could have easily been cleared up with a quick two minute phone conversation. No doubt you’ve seen the same thing happen.

With that I will say adiós.

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