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Meet People Where They Are

The other day I gave Abbey (yes Mercury in Retrograde Abbey) an assignment as I was walking out the door. Later, I realized that what she completed was not what I wanted and my initial thought was “dummy”.  I had assumed she understood what I was asking of her, it seemed clear to me.  Before you jump down my throat for my thought, let me give some background.  Before Abbey came to work for J2 she was in retail. She didn’t have much experience in the typical office environment, no previous experience in the tech industry and no experience working for an entrepreneur.  So “dummy” was aimed at me and not at Abbey. In my hurry, I thought I had been clear about what I wanted and I assumed she had understood.

Stick figures having a miscommunicationMiscommunications happen. I try each day to communicate my perspective and check in to make sure that what I’m saying is understood. If it’s not, I try to meet the person I’m speaking with where they are and explain what I’m saying in a way that makes sense to them, though I still sometimes get it wrong. I also try to listen to them, both to understand how to re-frame what I am saying, and to understand their unique mindset.

With next week being Thanksgiving, it’s a perfect time to try meeting people where they are.  Thanksgiving is typically a family holiday.  Some family we like and some we tolerate, but if we practice meeting folks where they are, we may get a better understanding of their perspective and maybe appreciate their point of view, even if they are wrong.

“Make sure you are understood. Don’t blame the other person for not understanding. Instead, look for ways to clarify or rephrase what you are trying to say so it can be understood.” – Joel Garfinkle

Have a great weekend,