How many times have you been upset with someone because you assumed incorrectly?
- Your spouse asked why you were late getting home from work. You assume he’s berating you for being inconsiderate when he was simply being concerned about your day.
- Your friend sends you a text asking you to call as soon as you are able. You assume she’s asking you to rush, but really she’s simply saying, “whenever you get a chance, no rush.”
- Your client sends a one line email asking where a deliverable is – no smiley, no ‘how ya doin?’, or any other pleasantry. You assume he’s worried you’re late. In truth, he’s just shooting out a quick email while he finishes a round of Candy Crush.
We have opportunities daily to make assumptions about what people mean by what they say.
Take email for example. We impute vocal inflection into every email we read. The same email can be read with 5 different tones of voice and end up meaning 5 different ways. We often assume the worst option available.
We all know people who always assume the worst in their communications with others. Over time, they are increasingly correct. When they assume the worst, they start dishing out their own vitriol, and consequently, their assumptions are self-fulfilling prophecies.
What would happen if you made a habit of always assuming the best?
How would you respond differently? Would you have a slightly better day emotionally?
And what harm is caused if you’re wrong – if you assume the best when the other person truly is being a jerk?
If you’re wrong, assume the best, and respond in kindness, will things end up better or worse than if you responded with similar rudeness and sarcasm?
It’s okay to be wrong. In the long run, you’d be right to be wrong. You’d disarm others. You’d coach them in kindness. You’d become more winsome. You’ll enjoy your interactions much, much more.
What does this have to do with sales?
If you happen to sell things for a living, this practice – assuming the best – will serve you well over the long haul. This practice isn’t a sales tool. It’s all about developing as a more positive and joyful human being. Obviously, this habit will show up in sales situations only because you’ve been doing it in every other area of your life.
I would even go so far as to say that this habit will make you happier. And a happier salesperson is a much more pleasant salesperson.
Mostly, though, you’ll be happier. And that makes it worth being wrong every once in a while.