Saturday, September 17, 2011

Let's be clear when we communicate

Back in May, I attended a business conference in Orlando, FL. Although I didn't enjoy the conference very much, I was able to make connections with other business oriented women.  What intrigued me the most, was a conversation I engaged in with a fellow conference attendee. You see, I've always been great at breaking things down and analyzing the minute details of situations and as I get older and meet more people I realize that I possess a genuine gift.  When I find myself in a position to enlighten a stranger, I cherish those moments as a child cherishes his favorite toy.

So there we were, on the second day of the conference, two other attendees and I met for a complimentary buffet-style breakfast at the hotel's restaurant. The ambiance was quietly relaxed and welcoming; conducive to casual conversation. We started out by introducing ourselves and explaining what our goals are and where we see our businesses headed in the near future. One of the ladies owned a matchmaker service and the other one was a lifestyle coach. I mentioned my jewelry business and my writing, of course. We encouraged each other and offered advice as we saw fit and just as we were about to conclude our breakfast the server asked if we required anything else. One of the women briefly looked over at the fruit bar and then returned her sight to the server as she replied,"I sure would like to have some fruit later today." After the server analyzed her response, he realized that what she was really saying was,"Do you mind getting me a box, so I can take some fruit with me?" So he confirmed his calculation by asking,"Would you like a box, ma'am?"
"That would be great!" she exclaimed, as if he had just won a contest.

I gazed at the interaction with intense curiosity as a delicious smile formed on my face. My table partners noticed my reaction and reciprocated my smile with their own curiosity. I finally opened my mouth to speak.
"May I ask a question?" I asked permission before I risked embarrassing her.
"Of course," she said.
"Why didn't you just ask for a box?" I asked.
"What do you mean?" she replied.
"You could've just asked him for a box instead of insinuating your desire to eat fruit later. He asked a simple question and you gave him a math problem to solve!" I chuckled a bit as I said it.
"Wow! I didn't realize that! I don't know why I did that. I've probably been doing that for years! Thanks!" she exclaimed in utter amazement.
I chuckled. They were astonished.
"Mission accomplished," I told myself as I smiled. It was a great day.