A surprising lesson we can learn from restaurants

27th September 2016

Restaurants confuse me.

They have thirty things on the menu. But I’d only ever choose ten of them. Why have the other twenty?

Then, after I’ve finished eating and am full, waiters keep bringing hot food from the kitchen for other diners. But I’m full. How can they be hungry?

And then it hit me: other people are different to me. They like different things. Just because I’m full doesn’t mean they are. I might be at the finish line, but they haven’t started yet.

And people are different aren’t they?

I was recently at a crowded airport with my seven-year old, and asked her if she could see any two people who looked identical. She couldn’t. I told her that’s because everyone’s different. And we can only see their outside. The differences are even greater on their inside. And so it’s important to understand them, so you both enjoy chatting.

Obvious, yes. But worth remembering when you’re communicating:

  • Preparing a communication for someone important? Ask what they want you to talk about. Don’t just trot out what you think they want
  • In a sales meeting? Ask about them, their company, what’s annoying them, what they would prefer things to be like. Trust me, they’ll prefer this to you starting with “We were founded in 1922”
  • In an argument? Just because someone annoyed you didn’t mean they intended to. So, if you react to them angrily, they will be surprised, defensive… and maybe even aggressive to you. So work hard to see things from their point of view, so you can find an outcome you are both happy with. Remember, it’s more important to find a solution than it is to prove you’re right

Action point

What’s the next thing in your diary?

Preparing a communication for someone important? In a sales meeting? In an argument? Doing a different type of communication?

Remember: work hard to see things from their point of view. Ask them what it is. Do that, and you’re much more likely to reach a great outcome for you both.

And, just as people prefer different meals in restaurants, people like to learn things in different ways to reading Tuesday Tips. For example, check this out…

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