It’s Friday! We’ve made it to the end of yet another snowy week so let’s turn to food. One of the sillier (in my opinion) shows on The Food Network is Dinner Impossible. It’s a race against the clock to shop for, cook, and serve a dinner under “impossible” time or other constraints. If it’s so impossible, how come they do it every episode?!?!?
In any event, this week I stumbled upon it (something else must have been in commercial) just as they were shopping. Part of the silliness is the inclusion of inexperienced or amateur cooks to help. One ingredient the chef desired was grits and they only had the instant kind at the market. The chef had sent an amateur to do the shopping, who called him to approve their purchase (which he did) and they moved on to cooking. That’s when we got the business reminder!
When the chef went to cook the instant grits he was angry to find that they were all in single serve packets. Since we are dealing with making several hundred servings and very limited time, having to open all the packets individually was not good. The chef, Robert Irvine, let the woman who had asked about buying instant grits know of his displeasure. She reacted angrily “he told me instant grits were OK. I don’t know why he’s mad now.”
That’s the point for all of us. He was pissed at the packets; she heard he was pissed at instant grits. He expressed himself clearly but somehow the message didn’t come across to the recipient as intended. She was mad the rest of the way and the whole project slowed down a bit to open the packets.
We all like to think that we communicate effectively. Part of that communication is making sure the message is received as intended. What we say and what others hear might differ quite a bit. We also have to make sure we convey all the facts to someone when asking them to make a decisions – what’s insignificant to you might be pretty important to the decision-maker. In this case, she didn’t tell him that the only option to buy grits was to buy individual servings – he might have adjusted his plan at the start. He did try to tell her that his anger wasn’t about the type of grits but at the package after she reacted badly but she had turned off to him and wasn’t listening.
It’s hard to correct the message (you bought the wrong kind of grits) when the recipient has stopped receiving (I bought what you told me was OK). We all need to do a form of “read it back to me” when speaking, especially when we’re conveying reprimands or other sensitive information.
What do you think?