I Need Some Directions

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'emergency phone' photo (c) 2009, Rupert Ganzer - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

I think some people were put on earth just to annoy me.  A phone conversation from my office yesterday, for instance:

Caller:  Can you tell me what kind of price you’ve got on the house that so-and-so used to live in?

Me:  I’m not familiar with that gentleman.  Do you have an address?

Caller:   It’s off of Elm.  You’ve got a sign in the yard.  It’s the house where so-and-so lived a while back.

Me:  I’m sorry, sir, but like I said, I’m not familiar with that gentleman.  If you had an address, I could definitely give you the right price.

Caller:  Well, I don’t know the address.  You’ve got a sign in the yard.  You mean to tell me you don’t know the price of a house where you’ve got a sign in the yard?  It’s the house where so-and-so used to live.

Me:  I’m sorry, sir.  I don’t.  I manage between 30 and 45 properties here on any given day, and without an address, I have no idea which home you’re talking about.

Caller: Well, sounds like you’ve got too much business for your own good.  It’s the house that so-and-so used to live in.

Me:  Sir, I’m truly sorry, but without an address I have no idea which home you’re talking about.  We do have a home on the corner of Elm and 3rd St.  Would that be the home you’re talking about?

Caller:  Well, no.  So-and-so didn’t live there.  It’s not on Elm.  It’s off Elm.  You’re telling me you don’t know the price?

Me:  I don’t know which home to give you a price for, sir.

Caller:  Well, that’ s just fine.  I’ll call Golden Gate.

Me:  Thank you, sir.  Have a nice day.

Really?

Yes.  Really.  And not only that, that’s the second call from two different people I’ve had this week.  This one was just a little more comical than the previous.  Both of the calls were from older gentlemen that sounded like they were well past retirement years.  The first one kind of laughed at himself and was able to give me the numbers of what I was looking for.  Yesterday?  He was plain grouchy with me…AND I have no idea who he was going to call.  The place me mentioned is a town, not an agency.  Hmmm…

Have you ever been the caller on the line?  I think a lot of times when we’re communicating we feel that since we understand exactly what we’re trying to get across that everyone else does.  A lot of times it’s a little more complicated than just needing an address, but, still, it can only lead problems and people ending up where they’re not really expecting.

Don’t give in to the idea that halfway communicating something is getting your point across.  When you’re planning something or leading a group, don’t accept it when they say they understand.

Make sure.

I think one of the biggest things that gets in the way of progress is miscommunication.  This can lead to problems in planning, organization and in relationships with those you’re working with.

Don’t sell out and just assume that everyone knows what you’re talking about.  That’s easy.  Getting to know your friends and family through communication is the best way to ensure who is fighting for you and for whom you should be fighting.

Where have you seen miscommunication become a problem?

About the author

  • I was just talking to Drew about this with our youth group. We have tried to prod and indirectly discuss, but it hasn’t worked. So we are going to try to communicate more directly. I guess that is exactly what God wants.

    • My experience with teenagers is they don’t pick up on subtle hints very well…or the direct approach. 🙂 Good luck, friend!

  • Amy_book

    teenagers, men, siblings, co-workers, bosses — all equally as difficult to communicate with. That’s why they created feedback 🙂 Love you!