The other night while I was at dinner with a friend, I asked the waiter if I could get my french fries burnt. I always order them this way because this is how I like them. It never occurred to me to order them any other way. My friend also likes burnt fries, but never thought to order them that way. It’s funny, what is so obvious to some people is not obvious to others.
This had me thinking a lot about communication. Sometimes we want things, but we never think to ask. Other times, we think to ourselves “doesn’t everyone like burnt fries?” Believe it or not, not everyone does. Some people like soggy fries. Some people like them with a lot of ketchup. Some people don’t like fries at all. But, how are we supposed to know this? How are we supposed to know what our friends like? How do we know what our clients want? What about conference attendees? They usually let us know if the fries are cold, but what if they prefer baked potatoes?
How can we communicate what we want to improve relationships?
- Be clear, but polite when expressing what you want. Don’t assume people know what you want. This goes for friends, family, partners and vendors.
- Ask people what they want. We all have to learn that communication goes both ways.
- Check-in with people. Are you meeting their expectations? What can you do better? What would make them happier? Sometimes we can do this with a survey, but many times a real conversation goes a long way.
How else can communication be improved? What do you do to express your desires and what do you do to make sure you are meeting the needs of others?
P.S. I also order my bacon burnt. As crispy as it can get!