I simply responded back to him, “Every time I’ve ordered the Big Breakfast I’ve been asked if I wanted pancakes...which is why I ordered the way I did...I didn’t know you changed the name of the one with pancakes.” He just looked at me blankly and let me know my order would be ready soon.
They Don’t Have an SL...it’s the SEL...Geez!!
I want you to imagine that you’ve just come back to the office after taking a test drive in a car you’re considering purchasing. A co-worker asks you how it went-to which you respond, “I really liked that Toyota Camry. It drove really well and that SL version had most of the things I really ...”
Then, your co-worker interrupts you and says something like, “Camry SL?? Don’t you mean the SEL? Camry doesn’t make an SL version. Didn’t you drive the car?” Then she rolls her eyes at you, you know, for good measure.
Was it really necessary for someone to make you feel stupid for not knowing that Toyota doesn’t have a Camry in an SL version? Would that change the essential gist of your story-which was that you test drove a car you liked?
Similarly, in the McDonald’s story-the associate knew what I wanted to order. Would it have been so difficult for him to say something like, “Great....your order will be right up.” Or, if he really felt the need to “educate” me on McDonald’s nomenclature, he could have said something like, “The Big Breakfast with pancakes is now called the Deluxe Breakfast...so you don’t have to let us know anymore when you order.”
In Your Office
The modern office is full of opportunities to fall into this trap. If a resident comes in and asks for an “NTV” (notice to vacate) form do you correct him and say, “Actually, Bill, it’s called an ITV (intent to vacate) form.” In this scenario you know that Bill wants a form to let you know that he’s moving out--why not just give Bill the form without the correction?
Don’t Get Stuck
One of the most valuable communication tips I’ve learned (and am still learning) in my life is to not get stuck on the words at times and focus on what someone is really trying to say. There are times when you’ll notice that some of the details of something someone is trying to tell you may be wrong- now, if it doesn’t truly matter, why focus on it, or bring attention to it?
If you find yourself wanting to say, “Actually SPAM was first made in 1937 and not in 1939...” and you’re not competing in some type of trivia contest where the exact answer is needed, stop yourself and ask, “Do I really need to correct him, here?”
By stopping yourself, you may just prevent yourself from being that guy ... and that is usually a good thing.