I’ve been a bit scattered this summer. While disciplined at keeping and working with a detailed to-do list, a few things have slipped away from me. If I had to choose the one that made me the most uncomfortable, I think it’s this … I missed/forgot/neglected my twin grandnieces first birthday on July 3rd. Yikes!
When I realized what I had done, I struggled to decide what to do next. I quickly settled on a gift that’s a family favourite and that could be delivered quickly. And this is where some interesting miscommunication occurred.
What was the miscommunication? And how did it get resolved?
All of my family are voracious readers – my siblings, my nephews and my niece, Melody. I knew she was already sharing this love of books with her twin girls, Emily and Sarah. I visited them in Calgary in March and read many of the stories already collected in the nursery.
This is where things started to go sideways. I knew that sending books was a perfect gift. The challenge was … which books did they already own? What would be a great choice that would be enjoyed throughout the coming year?
In the end, I choose a box set of books by Eric Carle (I think most of you will be familiar with The Very Hungry Caterpillar) and had them arrive in Calgary through Amazon Prime. But I was still feeling insecure, that the gift was a duplicate of books already in their library. Then I received this text from Melody:
“…thank you so much for the books for Emma and Sarah! They love books!!! We have already read most of them.”
I read this as an indication that my concern had been well-founded … that they did already have those books. I was disappointed, but not surprised. Here’s what I wrote back:
“I wondered about that. Don’t hesitate to give them away as a gift to someone else. Hope you have a great week.”
What do you think happened next? Can you ‘hear’ it in these messages? You see, when we write, we write with a tone of voice in our head. When we read, we read with a tone of voice in our head. Sometimes these ‘tones’ don’t match … and this causes the miscommunication.
Melody wrote back and said:
“Oh no, I meant we have already enjoyed reading the new books with them. They are excited to have new books to read! Sarah especially loves the Birthday Surprise.”
Ahhhh. If this same exchange had taken place in real-time, in a phone conversation, I would have heard Melody correctly the first time. Here’s my text response:
“Thanks … I did misunderstand. I believe you’ve given me a blog post …”
Real-time conversations provide us with the important information carried by our tone of voice. Keep including them as part of your communications with prospects, clients … and family!