Whether or not you have kids, you’ll have seen many occasions when they talk over one another. Sometimes it’s sheer excitement or enthusiasm. Sometimes it’s them not listening to what’s being said but just jumping in to get what’s on their mind off their chest.
Adults aren’t quite as likely to interrupt and jump in – but we too have that habit – exacerbated after the imbibing of copious amounts of alcohol. Someone just waits for a gap in the conversation and just launches in with their own speech. You know what I mean right?
And perhaps you’ve done the same yourself once or twice? I know I have.
And how about when someone says something to you that’s critical of you. What’s the best approach? To skilfully explain to them how you haven’t actually done anything wrong?
I’ve a supplier who has provided me with a plugin for my website. (Think of a plugin as just a piece of software that provides some functionality.) Two separate helpful businesspeople I know contacted me recently to let me know they had experienced a problem with the functionality. They were pressing a button on my website and nothing was happening.
So I contacted the supplier explaining the issue.
Their response? Of zero help (so far). Because they haven’t really listened. They haven’t looked at things from my perspective.
It reminds me of an incident many years ago when I was managing the development of software. A bug was reported by a user of our software. A young engineer on our team investigated and said: “Well it doesn’t happen for me”. And he was then mentally tuning out and moving on to something else. I told him that what he thought wasn’t all that mattered. Our issue was that there was a user who believed it was happening for them.
How do you react when your clients contact you about an issue? Do you seek to understand? Or explain?
If you prematurely jump into explaining, you risk your response being perceived as an excuse.
Put yourself into their shoes: how would you like to be treated?
PS: If you want to receive content like this blog in my twice-weekly email, sign up here and you’ll also get my ebook – “Get Off The Hamster Wheel: The Smart Small Business Owner’s Productivity Bible“.