Do you really know what people want?

Are you guessing, making assumptions or do you just think you know best?


“She won’t want to be bothered at the weekend. I’ll wait till Monday and she’ll thank me for that.”

“This document is way to long. I’ll just cut some of it and he’ll be grateful.”

“They asked for this AND this but I think they only need one of those things so I won’t bother about the other. They’ll be OK with that.”

These are all real conversations I’ve had recently with the people who have been very annoyed that someone thought they know what they wanted without checking. (One of them was me.)

However well you think you know someone, or however good you think you are at your job, there’s only one way to make sure you’re doing what your client, colleague, or team mate wants … and that is to ASK.

“This thing isn’t urgent. I’m happy to leave it till Monday but if it’s more convenient for you to do it over the weekend let me know.”

“This document doesn’t quite fit the format. How do you feel about leaving out these parts?”

“I know you said you want this thing AND this thing adjusted but it looks like you’re only using one of them so can I just check you really need both doing?”

Just ask.

It’ll save so much time and frustration and possibly save your relationship with someone too.

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