Don’t Assume!

Don’t Assume!

Silence“You Deserve To Live An Extraordinary Life!”

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been writing about how Navigators communicate. We’ve explored the importance of knowing what conversation you are really having, the art of straight talk, listening well, and accepting feedback. Today I want to finish up this series with an essential ingredient for effective communication: “Don’t Assume!”

Let’s say you reached out to someone and he promised to get back to you in two days. Four days have passed and you have not received a call or text. You had already expressed the importance of this request and are confused and frustrated that he has not yet contacted you. How might you interpret this and react given that it is already two days later than he promised, and you were relying on his follow-up? Perhaps your thinking takes you down this path:

“I can’t believe he blew me off! I’ve been there for him in the past and have saved his ass more than once! No call or text and I’m left hanging. I guess I’m not that important to him. This is what I get for being such a trusting person. Shame on me! This is the last time I’m going to depend on anyone.”

Can you hear the assumptions?

…He blew me off…
…I’m not that important to him…
…I can’t depend on others…

On the other hand, you could choose a better way of navigating the situation. You might call and leave a voicemail:

“I’m concerned that I haven’t heard from you. You said you would get back to me by Wednesday and it’s now Friday. Maybe you’re busy, or a problem has pulled you in a different direction. Could you please contact me? I value our relationship and look forward to talking to you about this issue, as it’s really important to me. Thanks!”

In this instance, you are direct, make no assumptions, restate your request, and emphasize the value of your relationship and the value of a response.

Bottom line:

We make up stories!
We believe them!
Much of the time, we are wrong!

Don’t get seduced by your assumptions… be smart and check things out.

If you liked learning about these five communication skills and want to learn more about Navigating For Success, call 610.642.4873 x23, email, or order my book Navigating For Success!