Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What Do You Mean?

The other day I drove past a truck displaying the sticker "Factory Trained".  It occurred to me at that moment how for the longest time I used to equate this to mean the technician is highly trained, an expert in his field.  But this time I wondered, is that really so?  Could it also mean that this individual simply attended say a short education program held at the factory, thus "qualifying" him to display the sticker? 

As I reflected further on this, many other such commonly spoken statements came to mind and I wondered, what do they really mean.  Statements such as:
  • Quality first
  • The ultimate driving machine
  • Best in class 
  • World class
  • Original Copy
  • Certified Pre-owned
  • Genuine imitation
  • She is so beautiful
  • He is so smart
  • I need some space
  • Grow up
  • They are so successful
The older I get, the more I am realizing how very few things in life are absolute, and instead majority of things are relative, subject to one's assumptions and interpretations, and how much I tend to assume that what I am understand something to mean is what the other really means to convey.

As a result, more and more when I now hear such subjective statements, I am starting to ask "what do you mean".  As I do this, I see the gaps in communication surface, resulting communication becomes much more effective, and misunderstandings decrease.  And equally importantly, I am realizing how much my own views are limited due to my limited experience.  So by asking the question, others views come out into the open and in the process I too learn and grow.

So next time you hear such subjective statements, ask "what do you mean".  This will invite dialogue and as you truly listen, you will experience for yourself further learning/growth, better decisions and therefore outcomes, and stronger relationships.  It's absolutely beautiful. 

Go ahead, give it try.  Start asking, what do you mean, by...?

1 comment:

Joelsef said...

I do this all the time. :-)