REFRESH THE FLOWERS
Words matter. Meanings matter. Instructions matter. Sometimes we believe our instructions are crystal clear. (Ever read any of those “how to” set up manuals lately??) but it ain’t always so.
So I was managing a major event and the task of one of the assistants on the project was to take care of all the flowers in the various rooms including the main foyer.
A lot of time had been spent to make sure the flowers were just right-that they fitted the themes being discussed; that they would last for three days, that they would stand out…who knew flowers were so important?
But everything matters and details are important in order to have a flawless event and décor makes a huge difference.
Anyway, as I was leaving for the night I reminded the young assistant to remember “to refresh the flowers” in the morning.
The next morning upon arrival at the venue I was greeted with the sight of some very droopy greenery and several flowers, which had clearly bitten the dust.
I asked if the assistant had been by and they told me she had spent over half an hour changing the water and fixing the flowers and there was much laughter when they told the tale.
This was repeated in all the venues. So I found her and asked what had happened and to explain why were there so many dead flowers and greenery. She was most upset and said I had told her “to refresh the flowers” and that instruction did not include removing any dead petals and greenery and she advised me in no uncertain terms that I was not a good communicator.
She was right and that taught me a huge lesson.
#1.Don’t assume everyone’s level of knowledge is the same as yours..
2. Be explicit when giving instructions. Be very explicit
#2. Always ask people to repeat to you what they heard you say so there is no confusion.
So now I always remember the “refresh the flowers” story when giving instructions and it has served me well.
Every story in life serves a purpose.