It’s hard not to assume sometimes. As entrepreneurs, we assume who our potential clients are. As bloggers, we assume our readers want to read about certain things and then comment, love and share. As people, we assume people will be courteous and kind. We also assume people understand us, that they “get” it.
Well, as with everything, there are exceptions and we are often wrong.
I’ve always felt that assumptions are the root of all F-ups.
Never assume you know who your next client is
A few years ago, John and I had been on the road since 5am making presentations to potential clients. It was 3pm and we had a 2.5hr drive home. We were on a road in the middle of the desert on the border of Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
“Who is this meeting with?” John asked me.
I rummaged through my file and told him the name.
“Who?” he sighed “should I just keep driving, they are never going to be clients?”
“Well, since we are here, what have we got to lose?” I replied.
We went to the meeting, no boardroom, no entrourage. Just a down to earth guy in a cubicle. John and I looked at each other. We both assumed the same thing – this is a waste of time, he is not a decision maker.
We were then asked to quote for a number of programmes. The meeting was over in record time. John and I were confused. Would they pay? We assumed no.
I’ll spare you the details but they ended up being our largest client. We worked with over 300 of their employees within 3 months.
Never assume you know someone or where they come from
Last week I received an email from someone I’ve never had any contact with who started the email with “Marhaba Ameena” (Arabic for “greetings”). This actually annoyed me, it was off putting.
The sender assumed I spoke Arabic from my name. As it happens, I don’t speak Arabic. Some may think they are being cute – they assume I’ll get it – I don’t.
Similarly, I’ve been complimented on how well I speak English when someone learns that I was born in Dubai. Wow, thanks – I don’t speak anything else! Also, never call me sister. I am not a nun. I have a sister thanks, and one is enough.
Some guys liked to be called “bro” – that’s their prerogative but I would advise against calling anyone “bro”, “dude”, “babe” – until you really know them.
Rather than assume, ask a question to open the door before diving in head first with your underwear over your head.
Never assume that you know what your readers want
After a while you can get an inkling of what your readers want to see on your site.
Don’t let this fool you.
You run the risk of compromising your content. I know I felt I found a “formula” for my other site. It worked a couple of times and then I started writing for my assumed audience.
And guess what? It got old and stinky. I felt so blah about writing the posts and I guess that came out in my writing!
Keep it you. Keep on that impossible quest to be authentic!