Never Assume

Never assume anything except the rising and setting of the sun!

We all have dealings with people on a day to day basis and much misunderstanding and disappointment can occur when we make assumptions.

“Assume – suppose to be the case, without proof, take as read, take for granted, guess.”

Many years ago, when I was working in financial services I was taught “Never assume because that can make an Ass out You and Me” (ass-u-me). This is so true. How often have you assumed that someone has understood what you meant but didn’t? Or assumed that they were going to do something but failed to do so? Or they have likewise thought that of you?

I find this scenario a big problem when it comes to assupmtions: Modern technology has created the opportunity for writing short messages via SMS or email. We use these methods for the speed of transmission. We might as the writer, assume the message means one thing but the recipient translates it into something quite different. Our assumptions can create quite stressful situations and strained relationships which had we taken the time to consider more carefully what we had written or used an alternative method to communicate, would have produced a different outcome.

Here are my top tips to avoid assuming incorrectly.

  • Firstly be very careful when giving information to someone.  To make sure that it is understood ask them questions to show that they understand clearly what you mean.
  • Read anything you write down carefully before sending to make sure that it can’t be misunderstood and if possible repeat the key points as a summary or call to action. If there is not enough room to write a text message for example then do not use that method.
  • When people are communicating to you, ask questions to clarify anything that might seem out of character to the message. You also can repeat to them a summary of what you THINK that the message means.
  • Never assume that people always MEAN what they say.
  • Never assume that people will remember what they are supposed to do.
  • Never assume that people can READ your mind!

So please, never assume as I don’t want you to make an ass out of me!

Have you any experiences of where assuming has caused problems or even something humourous? Please write a comment and let me know.

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