What Is Heard Is Not What Is Said

Dec 29, 2007
by:   Tim Stanley

In the days of global development teams, communication can be difficult.  It's what the recipient hears that is more important than what the communicator says.

What was said:

I believe in you. Love, Mose

What was heard:

I be leaving you. Love, Mose.

The next time you communicate with your team members, get them to repeat what they understood in their words.  It's better to straighten out any misunderstandings up front than to let things go misunderstood.

The full entry from December 2007 Reader's Digest:

My wife struggled with a career crisis: Should she quit her job? Knowing how panicked she was, I called our florist and sent her a bouquet with a card saying "I believe in you. Love Mose." Later she called to thank me. "But I'm confused by the card," she said. "Really? Why?" "Because it reads 'I be leaving you. Love, Mose.'"

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