Asserting Assumptions

You’ve heard it since Junior High School:  “..you know what happens when you assume!…you make an ass out of “U” and “ME”…”

What a quaint little play on words, and how devastatingly true!…especially as it relates to your voiceover business.

Assumptions (and its half-brother: presumptions), allow you to make assertions that are off the mark.  This needlessly complicates communication.  By extension it naturally, then, complicates human relationships.

Making the Mistake

…and the mistake can cost you, because it’s likely to land between you and your freelance business associates: the talent, the agent, the producer, or the client.  It can be as simple as a missed appointment, a phone call or decimal point.  It can be as complicated as misdirection on copy, a payment option, or the deadline of a project.

An assumption is the intersection of what is stated and what is perceived; what is expected, and what is heard; what is standard and what is custom; all that was customary, and what is now unique.  There is no shame in asking the question again to GET IT RIGHT. No embarrassment in double-checking, no guilt in follow-up.  Any client worth their salt won’t mind you confirming what might be obvious to YOU…the thing that may not be so transparent to the other party.

 

 

Avoiding Assumptions

 

Anyone should appreciate that you're being careful to understand the agreement Click To Tweet

1) Repeat back what you just heard from the person who said it.

This is a common transactional exercise in facilitating communication. It qualifies with the other person that what they heard (what you said) is indeed the correct direction or thought.  Basically, you’re re-iterating the words you heard (remember the childhood game where you whisper what you heard to the next person in the circle?)

2) Send an email or message text outlining the agreement (or words) just shared between you both

This falls under the heading of a common courtesy principle, and confirms the ground rules you just shared.   Anyone should appreciate that you’re being careful to understand the agreement.

3)  Speak/write in positive declarative sentences, not double negatives. 

Attorneys are famous for purposely making difficult what should be obvious.  Don’t do that. This is a business transaction, and needs to be clear, not cluttered.

4) The other party is not a mind reader.  Avoid acronyms, abbreviations, and half-thoughts in your emails, text messages, and phone calls.  State terms clearly, and repeat.

5) Humor often fails.  Levity can help a human conversation, But unless it’s in person with gestures, facial features, and body language to go along with it, such attempts can be misconstrued.  The other party then is forced to make an assumption to fill the gap.  Joke later.  This is business.

Honorable Mention.
The word “it” can misdirect a reader or listener back to the wrong noun that the word “it” is meant to represent if there are more than one objects or subjects.  Write it out, or say it without cutting corners.

I’m nit-picking.  I know.  But why take the chance?  If there’s any doubt, just ask.  Follow-up with a question.  Check again.  Doing so might take a little time and effort, but then again it may save you time and embarrassment.

CourVO

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