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Monday, September 21st, 2009
My good friend John Miller recently sent a note to his QBQ! mailing list announcing the release of my new book, Don’t Just Talk, Be Heard! The piece included an excerpt from the book’s introduction that tells a story about my getting pulled over by the police. The short version is, I was so focused on the literal words the officer spoke that when he said “Do you have your license and registration” all I answered was, “Yes,” and well, things sort of went downhill from there.
In my mind, it’s a funny, self-deprecating story that introduces the idea of “communication gaps”—the difference between our intentions and the perceptions of others—and shows that even the author of a book on effective communication is not immune to them. Unfortunately, not everyone saw it that way. The day after John’s email went out, he got this response:
“Has this guy ever been pulled over? What kind of wise guy just says “yes”? A real QBQ’er would have followed up with “would you like to see them” or even better have them already out and hanging out the window. Not just “YES”. The world does not speak literally most of the time it is sporadic and figuratively. Good communication involves listening and follow up. Your buddy was being a wise guy, he was endangering the public by going 50% faster than he should have in a residential zone and then wasted an officers time by splitting hairs.