Making assumptions while communicating with people

Imagine this scenario: You are at this office meeting about next year plans where you are
about to start the discussion and you begin by saying “You know what the biggest issue
is….” And suddenly one of the guys says “Yes, the coffee is really bad here”. The entire
group is stunned and you wonder what is going on. This guy who interrupted you made the
most common mistake of communication- He assumed.
Gaston Dsouza, a dynamic corporate trainer and master of ceremonies recommends
listening to the other person completely before putting forth your point. Thinking that we
know what the other person has in mind will confuse the issue and the communication will
become flawed.
Ways to avoid making assumptions
It is important to pay complete attention to the other person and understand fully what he or
she has to say.
 Speak only after the other person has finished or it may sound rude.
 Have patience. The speaker’s ideas are as important as yours so you can wait.
 Listen carefully or you may miss the point since you will be busy thinking about what
to say next.
 Don’t interrupt with a question as the speaker may be about to clarify.
What are the consequences of making assumptions?
Making assumptions will not only lead to confusion but will cause time delays in work which
may lead to productivity-loss. Time is precious, especially while at work and rectifying the
mistakes made because of someone’s assumptions is certainly a criminal waste of time.
Similarly, when you are forever finishing the other person’s sentences, interrupting them and
jumping to wrong conclusions, it is likely to foster ill feelings in the office. Gaston Dsouza,
leading Emcee in India says “You could be avoided for critical meetings or brainstorming
sessions since people perceive you as someone who never listens”.


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