|Digging into my retail box o' skills....
||[Dec. 11th, 2008|08:48 am]
Certainly a lot of what I do on a daily basis involves many of the skills I honed in 20+ years of retail and foodservice. "Not killing someone" and "how to repeat something over and over again in slightly different ways until finally the other person gives up and learns what you're trying to explain" being the primary ones. |
But no so often in my "new" career does this one come up, although it's fairly frequent in retail. And that's trying to answer a question without making the person asking it sound like an idiot.
I don't mean sort of dumb questions and I'm not talking about your internal need to keep from expressing how you really feel -- that's daily, sometimes hourly and a well-used skill for any good retail/foodservice worker.
I mean a question so profoundly stupid that you find yourself pausing because even to answer it simply, with no emphasis, is going to make the person asking the question sound like an idiot.
On Tuesday I got an e-mail from a distributor asking me why he hasn't received the January pricing sheet for a certain supplier. I explained to him that he won't get the sheet until December 15th and then carefully explained the system that generates our price sheets and that they come out on the 15th of the month preceding when the prices take effect. Since I explained this to him two months ago and maybe he thought I was only talking about October prices? I very carefully made sure that the e-mail led with the line "The January price sheet will be sent to you on December 15th" and it was separate from any further explanation, for I have learned that you always lead with the simple answer and save the explanation for another paragraph of its own.
I mean, I've taught workshops on effective e-mail communication.
Today I get an e-mail from him "I still haven't received the price sheet for January".
After much thought and some burnt out brain cells, I went with "That's because it's not December 15th yet"
It was the best I could do....