Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Amy screwed up. She unintentionally offended a client and still feels terrible about it. Yes, she's human and that day, definitely not up to par. The client complained to the boss and the boss corrected her.  If Amy could have dug a hole and crawled in, she would have. She did her best to apologize and wishes there was more she could do to set things right. 

I sympathized. This has happened to everyone at some point in their lives, me included. I told her that but I'm not sure it helped.

So what happened?  Amy doesn't know.  There must have been some kind of short circuit between her brain and her mouth.

Since it is not in Amy's nature to be short or sharp with anyone, something must have interfered with her edit switch. Together we dissected the event and discovered that she answered the client's question, fully expecting a joking rejoinder. Somehow her attempt at humor didn't come across.  It is impossible to know now if her tone or her expression belied her words.  Her boss let it pass.  Amy isn't sure the customer has or ever will.  She will carry this with her for a long time, mentally flogging herself every time that customer name appears in front of her.

Some days we are masters of our words; on others, we can barely put a noun and verb together.  We see it in social media all the time. Tweets are either 140 characters of genius or the tweeter is back-pedaling because what she wrote made no sense.

Communication is an exchange. It is spoken, written, performed, or displayed. No matter how earnestly we try, sometimes we will not be successful in conveying our thoughts or intentions. At that point, we have to be willing to apologize and try again. A great deal may ride on our ability to have others understand us.  Everything from world peace to inner peace.

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