In a recent World Series game, a phone call from the St. Louis Cardinals’ dugout to the bullpen was misunderstood. The result was the desired pitcher did not warm up and was not ready when he was needed. The team’s manager, Tony LaRussa, correctly accepted the blame for the error.
The onus is on the communicator to make sure his message is clearly understood by the person or group to whom he is communicating. It is important to confirm and reconfirm that the recipient got the message and its meaning.
Fast food drive-through lanes nowadays have screens that display your order. This allows you, the communicator, to be sure that your order was heard correctly. Medical offices make reminder calls a day or two before your appointment to be certain that you know when and where to go. When a patient does not show up, it costs them time and money.
In the communications industry, it is vital to double check to make sure your message was received and understood. If your email did not get a response, follow up with a phone call. The email may have gone into a spam folder. It may have been given little regard because its significance was unrecognized. Or it may have simply been forgotten.
If you have a meeting scheduled with a business associate, reconfirm the date, time and location on the morning of the meeting or on the day before. I know from personal experience how frustrating it is to budget time for a meeting and have the other person forget. It can also be annoying when you find out that a meeting no-show is waiting at the other Starbucks a few miles down the road.
We now possess the greatest tools for communication that man has ever known. Don’t be afraid to use them.