It's interesting to note that you're now having all sorts of reactions to the subject title of this post. The ramifications sprout from the experience you might have gained in the context of that expression. Chances are, at any point in time, each one of us was told that. No worries, it's not that kind of talk.
Still, we can treasure the linguistic lesson. Whenever we use a phrase in one context that has acquired a meaning in another, we may face confusion. After all, if we scan what we read, we also skim through what we hear: it's called part adaptation -- as in "we've heard it before" -- part assumption -- as in "my highly trained neural network has just jumped to a life-saving conclusion."
Why is this important?
When we relate to others, unless nonverbal clues come to our aid, we need to engage other communications skills to convey what we mean. So we smile through the phone because our inflection colors with that gesture, we modulate our voice to transmit an upbeat and prompt disposition, and we lean forward or better yet stand up to sound ready to act upon the conversation.
Before we do all that, we would be served well by joining the conversation in real time. That is being open and available to listening, translating what is being said into action items where appropriate, and to that effect stand ready to learn. I'm talking about the relationship with our customers.
Last week I joined the panel at the Fast Company Expert blogs debuting with a post that explains my relationship with the magazine. In the business world, there are organizations of all sizes and models, and there are experiences on both sides of the issue, the corporate side and the customer side, both will be in my stories.
Stephen Denny at Note to CMO talked about The Art of Not Listening recently. This is but one example of what we often do to people when we're so concerned about staying on script and frankly not enough about the person we're talking with. Now more than ever, we *need* to talk. The emphasis is on the need. Talk can change our lives.