Friday, September 28, 2007

Listen. Follow. Answer.

Have you ever noticed that there's an epidemic of people who don't listen, don't follow clear directions, and don't answer direct questions? Yesterday, I felt like I must be speaking a different language because all three of those happened to me. The analytical and logical side of me always likes to present what I'm saying or writing in a very clear and understandable manner. I really like effective communication. This is the opposite of that:

Example #1 (not listening):
"How can someone change their address in our records?"
"They have to submit it in writing either by email, letter or fax."
"So, can they give it to us over the phone?"

Example #2 (not following clear directions):
"How much am I supposed to pay this month?"
"Do you see the part that says, 'pay this amount'? It's in bold. And it's highlighted. That's what you pay."

Example #3 (no answer to direct question):
"What day, other than Thursday, would you like to have the meeting?"
"Yes, I think we'll need to pick another day."


Dara said...

Oh Rachel... you are kind to consider this problem a listening issue. Maybe that is the problem! I guess I am just pessimistic about the way some people process information, in general. I know this isn't nice or PC, but I've always said that my number one pet peave is "stupid people." You've inspired me to be kinder and assume that maybe the person wasn't listening and is not just an idiot!

Brooke said...

I teach middle schoolers. I'm amazed at their lack of listening skills. I already have to repeat myself 5 times a day for each class. Then, I repeat each instruction about 5 times in each class. It used to really bug me, but I have to keep reminding myself that these people are teenagers.

Unknown said...

Example #3 doesn't even make any sense! These types of "listeners" bug me too.

Amberly said...

Rachel, I go through this on a daily basis living overseas! I guess I should expect it some, but for pete's sake, I am living in a country where English is spoken, so there shouldn't be that much a language barrier, right? There is & it is SO frustrating! I know that I am asking simple, clear questions, but I have yet to receive a simple, clear answer. Here is my latest example:

I have tennis lessons on Tuesdays & Thursdays, but today, it rained all day long. So, when my phone rang at 3:30 this afternoon, I knew it was the fitness center calling to tell me that tennis was canceled. This is exactly how the conversation went:

Me: (Very cheerful) Hello
Rosy: Hi Ms. E. This is Rosy from the fitness center.
Me: Let me guess - tennis is canceled today?
Rosy: No, this is the fitness center.
Me: Yes, I know. Is tennis canceled today?
Rosy: Ummmmm... I'm calling from the fitness center.
Me: (Annoyed now) Yes, I... nevermind. Why did you call?
Rosy: Ma'am, your tennis lesson has been canceled today.


Christina said...

Hahaha - this reminds me of my work - so great!

owldog1 said...

ME: Where do you live???
Her: In a house

How am I supposed to know what city to use?