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''I'm thirsty!'' - and your point is?

"Right! So what do you actually want mister client?" How many times have you asked that in only the THIRD meeting?

This site is dedicated to marketing related facts, stats, ideas, theories, and so forth. But like with most other relationships, let it be with your boss, client or employees, we neglect one of the most crucial parts of our existence in a world where human intervention is required to get the job done, no matter what industry you're in.

Let's take a normal, rather trivial example (to illustrate the point) like being thirsty. First of all, many people are either way too shy or scared to say they are thirsty and would like something to drink. If they aren't too shy to say they are thirsty, they neglect being specific as to what exactly they want. In the mad world of marketing where most things are rushed there's not time to waste - and well, you know what I'm talking about if you are in the marketing industry - it's rather hectic there "ain't" much time to phrase and rephrase what you want again and again. I have a motto: I'm too busy to do things over again, so I make sure it's done properly the first time. Yet, yup, we are all fallible human beings, so a communication glitch can make it's appearance here and there when you aren't looking or listening.

Up until now we have all assumed that the other person understands whatever you are saying, despite all the corporate and industry-specific jargon we use. But, what your client or service provider / supplier understands about whatever you are saying might be totally or just slightly muffled. With all the acronyms and buzz words we need to understand that saying "I'm thirsty" just won't do the trick any longer. You will get frustrated, quote for the wrong thing, invoice the wrong thing or even worse, get the wrong end-product or result from your service provider / supplier if you are the client.

Saying that you are thirsty and would like something cold is also not specific enough. Saying that you are thirsty and would like something cold, something like, I don't know, uhm, juice, is also not specific enough...for all I know (or your client / service provider / supplier) you are allergic to guava juice, or any fake preservative filled concoction.

As the client: Knowing what service or product you need begins with what end-result you want. As the supplier: Know what service or product you have to deliver starts with what end-result you have to deliver. It's a two-way communication and testing for understanding street between client and supplier.

"What do you want... this is what I can give you....oh, so you want this, but not really all of it in that way. No, I want that in this way... but I can't give this to you in that way." I mean, really now. Spare yourself some headaches and make sure all parties concerned understand from the beginning exactly what is required from both sides to get the job done!

Marketing goes beyond good old TV adds and Radio campaigns, in-store promotions and letting your reps knock on doors. It's about the message and even before the message there is communication that has to take place. Next time you sit in on a briefing or marketing strat meeting, listen carefully to what is discussed, but more importantly what words and explanations are used to express needs, wants, etc. It gets pretty darn interesting when you can clearly see the rather hazy look in the eyes of the person across the table when you use some or other industry specific buzz word they don't really care about....speak the English very deliciously!

Communication, the thing most organisms (if not all) have been doing for millions of years, yet we still haven't perfected it.

Make it clear, simple and test for understanding! It is guaranteed to save time, money and most definitely bills on "King Vallium" or cigarettes...for that nicotine kick in the middle of "the third quote you have to send out for the same damn job."

About Lehan Stemmet

Qualified in Psychology, Biochemistry and Microbiology. Author, and generally a Jack of all Trades, Lehan enjoys people, straight forward thinking and the importance of the emotional side of things in the business environment - the often neglected part of any business. The integration of people, systems and everything that goes with it to make or break a business is what Lehan is interested in... emotional empowerment for handling the "things" in the business and personal lives of people. For more info visit:, or e-mail:

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