Sink or Swim – Am I Being Clear?


While attending a sales seminar several years ago, I remember the speaker saying that often times what is said, what is heard and what is meant is very different to the people having a conversation. I have a real life example of this that I would like to share with you.

As many of you know, I take my sons, Noah and Will with me to the Boundary Waters every year and we go with my friend Dave and his son Stephen. On one of our trips, we encountered a very large beaver dam and we had to get out of our canoes and pull them over the dam. It’s important to note that with the Kevlar canoes that we use, it is critical that you do not get in the canoe unless it is in the water otherwise you risk the possibility of damaging the bottom. The area at the bottom of the dam prevented an ideal boarding situation as there was mud and sharp sticks everywhere so as is often the case, you must wade out into the water to step into the canoe. The water I was looking at was very dark so I couldn’t see the bottom to determine the actual depth. It also smelled like an outhouse as the water wasn’t moving here.

I looked across the pool where Dave and Stephen were waiting for us to get into our canoe. I shouted over to Dave, “How deep is it?” He indicated with his hands that it was about a foot deep. I stepped off into the water and promptly sank up to my ears!
We all started laughing very hard and I could hear Dave between the laughter, saying, “I thought you meant over here!” I said, “Why would I ask you how deep it is over there?”
Be clear in what you are saying or asking and as much as possible, make sure the other person who you are communicating with is on the same page as you as it could impact whether you sink or swim!