Mirror, mirror…

My mother told me, “Go and get a carton of milk from the supermarket. If they have eggs, get half a dozen.”
I return carrying six cartons of milk and she asks, “why did you bring six cartons of milk?”
I replied, “because they had eggs.”

Have you ever had a situation where you communicate clearly to someone and they clearly understand what you meant… but somehow you both clearly have completely different ideas of what was communicated?

Clearly this is something that has happened to me and probably regularly. It’s got to stop, so I’m employing yet another technique for effective communication It goes like this: When I hear someone say something non-trivial like a request to do something or it triggers an emotional response, I try to remember to repeat back what I understood. That gives them a chance to correct anything that I may have misunderstood.

“So, if they have any eggs, I should bring you six cartons of milk.”
“No, if they have eggs, bring me six eggs as well as one carton of milk.”


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