A One Word Action Step For Us All

This week’s TIP is a reminder to us all – including myself! – because it’s too easy to violate this one word action step.

I cite it today because I was actually guilty of failing to do this myself – and then had to apologize, and fix the problem, a problem which, had I paid attention, would not have happened. I wasted her time, my time, and it took far more effort to fix the problem than it would have taken had I not made the error.

Fortunately the person I had not properly helped was understanding – much appreciated of course. But believe me, I’ll be far more careful in the future!

And hopefully, after reading this post, you will, too.

That one word action step is….


Yup – that’s it. A one word action step.  READ!

The problem usually goes like this:  In a hurry, I skim the information in front of me. Then I’m left with questions, or I miss an important point that would have expanded my understanding of what I just read… bottom line, when we don’t take the time to read, we miss important information.

Having missed it, I then send a response that either doesn’t answer the original question or creates even further misunderstanding.

As Gramma used to say, “If you don’t have time to do it right, how will you have time to do it over?” I should have paid better attention to Gramma!

Reading carefully and completely is the key.

More often than missing something myself, however, are those times I’m required to spend way too much time answering questions for others who don’t read.

They phone or email with this problem or that problem when, if they had only taken an extra minute to read the instructions, or find a link, no call or email (which took far more time than that extra minute) would have been needed.

The same advice goes for people who read articles or books to help them with their business or services. Just because you buy those books, or subscribe to an organization, doesn’t mean the great information they offer will osmose into your brain! Read it!

There are so many things we need to read. Contracts, instructions, online information, email, your clients’ pill containers, instructions, disclaimers – you name it. It may feel like too much, it may be difficult to do more than skim, but skipping over written information, and missing an important point, can actually cost much more in the long run, in both time and money. As the professionals we are, that can make a dent in the trust our clients feel toward us – which none of us can afford.

Read! Or watch or listen or whatever it takes to acquire the information offered.

If you don’t have time to read it to begin with, how will you have time to reread it after spending time trying to get answers that were right there to begin with?

… at least that’s how Gramma would have phrased it.


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