Early one morning, with no time for a Dunkin’ Donuts run, I made the two-minute drive to the Circle K, a local convenience store, and poured myself a cup of hot coffee. All of a sudden, I felt a sizzling, burning feeling. The good news was that “my cup runneth over.” The bad new was that it was running over with hot coffee. Yes, yours truly (a.k.a. “Mr. Klutz”) had managed to pour coffee all over his hand.
Being of the oratorical profession, I knew exactly what to say…”OUCHHHHHHHH!”
A bystander, having observed my painful ordeal, commented, “Well, at least you can sue the Circle K Corporation for millions of dollars.” I believe he was serious.
I replied (politely), “Or, I could pay more attention when I pour my coffee.”
Social commentary aside, the point is, whatever we do, we need to not only pay attention but be willing to take responsibility for and accept the consequences of our actions.
This holds particularly true in our communication with others. We can’t expect that, just because we know what we are trying to say, the other person will automatically understand it as we intend it to be understood. As I’ve previously pointed out, this often comes down to belief systems (how we see the world, and assume that other see it the same way we do) and definitions (if two people define a term differently, it becomes difficult to have a conversation based on understanding).
In Part Two, we’ll look at one example where, although I probably said exactly what I meant to say, I communicated it in such a way that – if someone really wanted to misunderstand it, they could…and they did. And I had to take responsibility and realize that I set up the misunderstanding.
In about an hour, I head for the aiport to travel to New Jersey. I have a program there on Saturday. On Friday, John David Mann and I meet at a studio in New York to record the audio version of our soon-to-be-released book, Go-Givers Sell More (Portfolio, February, 2010).
So, not sure if Part Two will be tomorrow, Saturday or next Monday. But I do “accept responsibility” for getting it done. At least, one of these days. 🙂