Tuesday 10 November 2015


You know that feeling when you think something should be easier than it is, and you're getting increasingly frustrated at what the other person is saying because it's still not making sense?

A bit like when you're trying to do one of the above puzzles, and you're just moving the tiles around in some random order, and getting nowhere.

I had 2 of those sorts of conversations this morning - one on the phone to the bank, and the other whilst tweeting back and forth with Tesco regarding my club card vouchers (mundane I know but a useful example as you'll find out)!

The common cause of this frustration was misunderstanding - on both sides. That is on both occasions both parties felt what they were saying was easy to understand, and therefore getting frustrated at the lack of understanding by the other person.

With Tesco it involved me having to go back to the beginning and confirm that when I used this URL, and pressed that button, this appeared and not what they were telling me. Of course when they had the missing piece of the jigsaw they then realised the cause of the misunderstanding, and could tell me what URL to use instead.

With the bank I'm not sure she ever understood why I wasn't following what she was saying. To her, with her knowledge and understanding what she was saying was common sense. I'm not sure therefore she understood why I was still having a problem. In this instance the missing pieces of information for me were:
  1. My personal user account is linked to my business account - I can therefore use my personal account user name and password to access my business account! (who knew?)
  2. My debit card can be used to authenticate my account on the card reader - ie I don't need a authentication card as I have used in the past - (how simple). 
  3. The card reader provided for my old business account can be used for my new business account - perhaps a little more obvious once points 1 & 2 have been clarified.
Postscript upon trying this out: no that doesn't work, and my lack of understanding was because there was no logic, and no way on Earth the advice given was going to work, and yes an authentication card is required - which they will now send me!!! Not sure what language we were both talking but it certainly wasn't the same one!! I should trust my intuition more because I knew it wasn't right and kept checking, but that obviously simply got us into the realms of more miscommunication. 

I remember a colleague getting very frustrated with me that I wasn't agreeing with her about something. The more I didn't understand and agree with her the more frustrated she got. In the end I said to her:

"For you to be this angry and vocal about the situation I know you're right. However I don't yet know why you're right. That is there is a missing piece of knowledge or logic that you know that I don't - yet. Help me find the missing piece of information before we come to blows."

How often when we're disagreeing with someone do we assume it's a real disagreement rather than spend a little time to confirm we're talking the same language, and to find the common ground.

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Inspiring change inside and out

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