About a week ago, my wife and I were eating at an upscale Italian restaurant. One reason we chose this particular eatery is because we were thinking about having our son’s wedding reception in one of their large rooms. After asking our server for some information, the manager soon appeared at our table. He was very friendly and offered some thoughts but didn’t have all of the information handy. He ended the conversation with, “Let me run back to the catering office and get you some more information. I’ll be back before you finish dessert.”
Unfortunately, that was the last time we spoke with the manager. We saw him a couple of times as he passed by our table, but he never brought us the information.
So why didn’t he come back? Was the manager sincere? Did he really mean those words? Most likely. He probably just forgot, his mind swimming with “To Do” items during a busy dinner period.
We regularly offer sincere words and statements that oftentimes get lost in the busyness of life. Sadly, we offer these things so frequently (and without thinking?) that they oftentimes become throwaway comments:
- “This year we’re going to offer quarterly employee feedback instead of our usual
yearly approach.” Twelve months later, we’re still waiting for our first performance
review with our manager.
- “Your call is important. Please leave a message and I’ll return it as quickly as
possible.” But when we don’t hear back from you, does that mean our call is not
- The “Our employees are our biggest asset” corporate value shows up on a wall
plaque. Then why don’t our employees feel valued and appreciated?
Do we really mean what we say or are we simply saying what’s expected? The right thing at the right time?
What is the cost when our words become hollow and meaningless? We might lose customers (in my case, we chose not to use the Italian restaurant for our reception). We might lose employees. We can lose trust, respect, or even a friend. We miss opportunities that may never come again.
Effective communication requires effective words along with effective tone and body language. Just as important – perhaps even most important – for effective communication is the necessary action to support those words.
So think before you speak. Then do something!
Darren K. Ford
I've enjoyed a great career. Worked in many different industries with great coworkers and customers. I talk to a lot of people while drinking a lot of coffee. I read constantly. From all of this, I have much to say.