Late the other day, while marooned in a doctor’s office with my youngest child, I typed a quick text to my pre-teen daughter to ask her to start dinner. I needed her to soak some brown rice but wasn’t sure she would know where it was so this is the text I sent : “Put 1 cup of brown rice from cupboard w cereal in a bowl and cover it with water to soak.” Self-explanatory, I thought, until I returned home to find my brown rice soaking away – with a cup of Honey Nut Cheerios festooning the top of the water. Gross.
I saved the rice, more or less, but stored this away as a good example of why e-communication is no substitute for the real thing. Don’t get me wrong – texting has been a life-saver for me, particularly when communicating with the younger, phone-besotted set. But electronic communication where there is no exchange of physical expression and little opportunity for clarification can magnify the things that typically go wrong in communication – misinterpretation, lack of context and a lack of adequate detail – all making it harder to get the result you actually want.
As your business grows, especially in the Surly Teen years, you’ll have countless opportunities for miscommunication. More employees and more customers means that more and more often you’ll find yourself resorting to those rare quiet (or after hours) moments to send a quick message via e-mail or text. Here’s a reminder to take a moment to read that message again before you hit “send”. Because brown rice and Cheerios are really not a nice combo.
Have a good example of a miscommunication? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org – if I use it, I’ll feature your business.