‘To answer before listening – that is folly…’
To serve others effectively, you must be attuned to what they need. What keeps us from doing that? Assumption. A lady in an airport lounge bought a packet of biscuits and sat down to read the newspaper. She heard a rustling noise and looked up to see the man beside her helping himself to the biscuits. Not wanting to make a scene, she leaned over and took one herself, hoping he’d get the message. Then she heard more rustling. She couldn’t believe it. The man was helping himself to another biscuit! There was only one left! She watched in disbelief as he broke the remaining biscuit in two, pushed half across to her, popped the other half in his mouth, and left. She was still furious when her flight was announced. Imagine how she felt when she opened her handbag to get her ticket out—and found her unopened packet of biscuits! Now be honest, didn’t you assume the stranger was helping himself to her biscuits? Of course you did, and that tells you a lot about yourself! Too often we’re guilty of making assumptions about people and once you put someone in a box, it’s hard to think of them any other way. Do you agree?? Every time a good tailor sees a client, he takes new measurements. He never assumes they’re the same size as they were the last time. That’s a good policy. Never make assumptions about someone’s background, profession, race, gender, age, nationality, politics, faith, or other factors. Once you do, you stop paying attention and miss clues that can help you to know what they really need.