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SMALL BUSINESS | What Did You Hear? Not What I Said!

What Did You Hear Not What I Said! by Ronald G. Shapiro, Ph. D.

To be successful in business listen to your important and valuable customers, employees and business partners who are always there for you. This may seem obvious, but, in fact, it is easy to misinterpret what people say while overlooking what is important, valuable and always there. Picture the following scenario. You are on stage with me and blindfolded. Your hands are resting on a chair. I place lotion on your right hand, invite you to smell your hand and ask “What is on your right hand?â€? You are likely to say “hand sanitizerâ€?, “foodâ€?, “lotionâ€? or “something wet.â€? I touch your left hand and ask “What is on your left hand?â€? You may say “lotionâ€?. After smelling your hand you are likely to say “skinâ€?, “nailsâ€? or “nothing.â€? I may place a cloth hair scrunchie on `V\YYPNO[YPUNĂ„UNLYVYPU]P[L`V\[VMLLS`V\YOHUKHZ*OHYSLUL Tuttle the sixth grade science teacher at Lawn Avenue School in Jamestown, RI (who has won the Presidential Award in Science HUK[OL(TNLU(^HYKMVY,_JLSSLUJLPU:JPLUJL;LHJOPUN  PZKLTVUZ[YH[PUN0TPNO[HZR`V\^OLU`V\^LYLLUNHNLK or married. I might remove your blindfold. With each hint you are more likely to answer correctly. No one has ever answered JVYYLJ[S` VU [OL Ă„YZ[ [Y` K\YPUN H WYVNYHT :VTL WLVWSL UL]LY NL[[OLHUZ^LY[OLPYYPUNJVYYLJ[+L[HPSZHYLVM[LUTPZZLK^OLU describing the ring while blindfolded. When asked “What question did I ask?â€? you might respond “What did you put on my hand?â€? The actual question was “What is on your hand?â€? >O`PZ[OPZ[HZRZVKPMĂ„J\S[& we are only able to avoid information overload and function because we ignore “steady stateâ€? information, responding mostly to change. Thus, a ring worn consistently may be overlooked. we interpret questions and information in view of our experiences. In this scenario, the most likely question would have been “What did you put on my hand.â€? So, how does this apply to us in business? if we are ignoring the “steady stateâ€?, we might not promote our outstanding attributes or the outstanding attributes of our products or services because they are so familiar to us that we overlook them. If we are trying to make our processes safer or more LMĂ„JPLU[ ^L TH` TPZZ ZVTL VWWVY[\UP[PLZ because we’ve always done things the way we are currently doing them. Likewise, if we are

RISBJ Issue 5  

Issue 5 of Rhode Island's premier business publication.

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