Clarify the Underlying Issues

For effective communication, you want to be sure that you and your client are on the same page right from the get‐go—so don’t presume you’re defining a term in a similar way. In fact, ensure you’re not falling into the trap of confusing fluency with real comprehension of a term.

Here’s a simple rule: No Guessing! Even if it seems too obvious to ask the question, even if it seems like you should really know the answer already, test out how mutual everybody’s understanding is of a term or concept before embarking on a conversation. A couple of good No Guessing questions might be:

Just before we go any further, could you help me understand how you’re defining…?

You know we’ve come across lots of ways to define ‐‐‐‐‐. We’ve seen it defined as ‐‐‐‐‐‐ in this type of industry, as ‐‐‐‐‐‐ in this other situation, and as ‐‐‐‐‐‐ in this particular case. Just so we’re all on the same page, how would you define ‐‐‐‐‐ within the context of your business?

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