There I was, at the end of a long day, reading feedback from a recent survey I’d conducted. There it was, staring back at me from the computer screen. A very negative comment from someone I had recently met and really hit it off with…or so I thought. This person obviously did not feel likewise since he suggested that my employment was a mistake. I couldn’t believe it. There it was in black and white:
“Not sure hiring a marketing director was a step in the right direction.”
I was hurt, confused, and angry. As I left the office that day, my mind was a whirlwind of mixed emotion and doubt. I began second-guessing everything. Maybe our meeting hadn’t gone as well as I’d thought. What if I wasn’t the right person for the job after all? What if, what if, what if?
Later, after forcing myself to hit the gym instead of the corner bar, I decided to go back through those survey comments again. And, there it was. his comment, staring back at me:
“Not sure. Hiring a marketing director was a step in the right direction.”
What?! It reminded me of those grammar memes I keep seeing on Facebook.
They like me! They really like me! How could I have so easily misread what turned out to be a very positive comment? Had I allowed my own insecurities and doubts to filter the message before it hit my brain?
As humans, we all carry with us various filters through which we receive messages. Emotional intelligence, culture, gender, body language, to name a few. Add to that the impact of technology and chronic multi-tasking, and you have a society of really busy folks who aren’t paying attention. As communicators trying to cut through the clutter, we must always be mindful of these barriers in order that our message is received effectively.