by Judy Yaron PhD | Featured Contributor
You know what they say: When you ASSUME you make an ASS out of U and ME.
I attended the conference. As my funds were limited, there was no way I could stay at the Hilton, where it was being held.
“What’s the big deal?” I thought to myself, “There must be heaps of motels within walking distance.”
I shared a shuttle from the airport with a number of other conference goers. They were all staying at the Hilton. Once the driver dropped them off, I politely asked him, if he could recommend an inexpensive motel nearby.
“No problem,” he said giving me a wink.
Within minutes we reached our destination. The driver was even nice enough to check it out for me. “Got you a good deal!” he beamed as he came back from the reception. “$19 a night, it’s their last room for this price.”
It was a shoddy place, but what could expect for $19? I paid for one night – cash. No questions asked. My room was small and dark. The carpet was stained. Okay, I could deal with that. I could even deal with the moldy odor and the mildew in the shower. The problem was that I was on the ground floor. There were no bars on the windows and the bathroom window was broken. It was creepy. And to make things worse, there were half a dozen beer belly men loitering in the parking lot.
What was I to do? All my enthusiasm, all my excitement, all my high hopes for the conference, fluttered out the window like a bouquet of helium balloons that came undone. All I knew was that I had to get out of there. I decided to make my way to the Hilton.
I guess I looked kind of desperate, because as I was wandering hopelessly about, a young man came up to me. “Hi, I’m Jason,” he introduced himself, “you okay?” When he saw me hesitate, he informed me that he was one of the conference hosts. He even showed me his badge.
When I told him my story, he exploded with laughter, “Where did you say you’re staying?”
I gave him the name. “Well, what did you expect? The driver did exactly what you asked him to! It’s, let’s say, our local bordello … He obviously thought you are a working girl, looking for clients …!”
So what went wrong? In one word: ASSUMPTIONS.
Based on my request “an inexpensive motel walking near the Hilton” and probably past experience, the shuttle driver, knowing nothing else about me, assumed I was just another working girl, who had come to town in search of clients. In truth, I gave him no reason to think otherwise.
Big mistake. My mistake.
Now you, dear reader, have probably made a few assumptions of your own. Why in heaven’s name did you ask a shuttle driver to recommend a motel? Who in their right mind does that? That is definitely looking for trouble! Why didn’t you google the motel? Better yet, why didn’t you do your homework and check out motels before leaving home? Short of money – why didn’t you just charge it to your credit card, have a good time and worry about paying for it later?
If, indeed, these are your thoughts, then you too are making some BIG assumptions.
Big mistake. My mistake.
You see, if a writer (or anyone else producing CONTENT) wants to ensure that her message gets across, precisely as she intends, then she must leave no room for assumptions. She must make sure to present all the facts– not the way she sees them, but from her readers’ perspective.
In this story, there is one key fact missing.
The year. It was 1986.
For those of you who have grown up with the world-wide-web in the palm of your hand, in 1986 there were no smart phones; there were no mobile phones; the Internet was still unheard of. Also, in 1986 people like myself were not globetrotting like today, thus international credit cards, if already in existence, were not commonly used. In fact, I was walking around with travelers’ checks concealed in a pouch strapped to my belly, and cash stuffed in my socks!
Knowing these facts may not change the essence of the story, but it probably changes how you perceive me and my predicament.
Bottom line, in order to create meaningful content that serves your GUESTS well,
never leave room for ASSUMPTIONS.
Make sure to provide all the relevant facts, even those that seem obvious to you.
They may not be so obvious to someone coming from a different place.
So as not to make assumptions about me, why not read my previous posts 🙂
Judy Yaron PhD is a Pedagogical Artist who creates Learning. After an adventurous career of almost thirty years in Education in three continents, she is using lessons learnt from the people she met from all walks of Life to help others spin their know-how into gold, by transforming their knowledge and experiences into instructional products that touch the heart.
As a Sabra, Israeli born and bred, her style is prickly, frank and unapologetic. BUT, that is only on the outside. Inside, like the fruit of the Sabra, she is soft, sweet, generous and kind.
If you want to be sure, check her out at Cut the Crap Solutions.
Follow Judy on Twitter at @humblyhuman