04 May Whose Fault Is It?
Are you sabotaging your own communications? Someone is at fault- is it you?
Panet, the owner of a bookstore told me of trouble with Yani, one of her employees. She’d asked him to restock a few shelves but he hadn’t done so. When she asked me to talk with him about it later he said he thought she just wanted to know if he could do it, not that she wanted him to.
She said, “Do you think you could restock that section?”
He said he told her yes, of course he could but then thought no more about it, since she didn’t ask him to do so.
When I relayed this information to her she said with some frustration, “Well, that’s how I talk! He knows me! He should know what I meant.”
Another situation involved two people charged with arranging furniture in the conference room.
“Let’s put the big table against that wall,” said Moyo to Fontan.
“No! That doesn’t make any sense! Wasted space. Not happening,” from Fontan to Moyo.
Moyo to me, “He shoots down anything I say. I can’t work with him”
When I talked with Fontan about this he said, with much frustration, “What? That’s how I talk! She knows me- that’s just an invitation to discuss it! She should know that.”
Who is responsible for the success or failure of a communication?
Any one of these four people could improve the above interactions, but it seems to me that using one’s ‘style’ of speaking as a reason for others to intuit meaning or overlook rudeness is asking a lot.
Then again – if you want the communication to succeed, check for clarity whether that’s how you talk or not.
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