“Is it difficult to get fingerprints?”
The question was innocent enough.
It was just. . .
Took me a minute to realize that, though.
So instead I replied something like this:
I DON’T KNOW, DAD. I GUESS SO BUT THEN HERE’S THE THING AFTER YOU PAY THE MONEY AND THEN YOU GET AN APPOINTMENT YOU HAVE TO CLEAR YOUR SCHEDULE AND WE WORK FULL TIME AND THEN THERE ARE THE DOGS. AND WE’RE TRYING TO GET READY FOR THE HOLIDAYS AND LAST WEEK I JUST HAD A FLAT TIRE AND A;LASDJFKLSJDFKLJSDFIJSDPOJFOIAJEOPIWJEAFOPAIJSOIDJAFAKSJDFKAJSDFOJSADPFJASKDJFSKLADJFKLSDJFKLSDJFKSADJFSAJDFKL;SAJDKL;FJSADKFJSLAKDJFSL;KDFJSA.
What do you think? Did I overreact?
KIDDING. That’s a rhetorical question.
Being an obsessive over-analyzer, studier of human behavior, and a writer (I could have just said “a writer” and the rest is implied), as soon as I hung up I was like, KATIE. YOU DOOFUS. APOLOGIZE TO YOUR DAD.
So I called him back. “Hi Dad. I’m so sorry I bit your head off about the fingerprints question.”
“Oh, you didn’t.” (Dad is used to my HIGHLY PLEASANT DEMEANOR when I feel stressed.)
“I did, and then I thought about why. I was responding to your literal, actual words rather than your intent. Your intent was to more like check in on progress and I interpreted it as judgement and then immediately acted upon that perception even though I KNOW you are the LAST person in the world to judge me for anything.”
He’s had plenty of chances in the last 43.5 years and he never has.
“If you had asked me ‘How do you get fingerprints?’ It would have been a completely different conversation. Asking how something is done rather than whether it’s difficult or easy is a much more neutral way to ask. Come to think of it, asking how would give a person more information from the answer. Or at least more useful information. I gave plenty of information in my answer. It just wasn’t useful.”
*Big dad sigh* “Ok, Katie. But you didn’t upset me.”
“No! This is GREAT! Now I have another newsletter!”
He laughed. “And I’ll read it when you send it.”
The Grand Pause
In music a fermata symbol indicates a “grand pause,” or a section of music when time is not counted. Essentially, the musicians pause until the conductor indicates they start playing again. (Someone else beat me to using this metaphor in a very “Katie newsletter way” and I’m delighted.)
Had I taken a pause when Dad asked if getting fingerprints was difficult, I might have interpreted the question as intended.
Pausing before reacting might be the single most difficult behavior for me to consistently do.
This might be cinema’s single most satisfying comeback but only because we’re on Elle Woods’s side in this interaction.
That’s the thing, though.
We are on Elle’s side.
And so are most of the people we talk to on any given day.
Sometimes it’s just hard to remember that in the middle of everything else.
Uptown funk you up
As we close out the year, I am once again resolving to channel Bruno Mars and to “Stop, wait a minute.” before
- Quoting prices
- Responding to questions
- Answering emails
- Slack chatting if it seems like it’s going off the rails
- Making major life decisions
It’s easier said than done, but if there’s one communication tool that will make almost every interaction better, it’s a pause.
The OTHER communication tool I’m really leaning into is the Brené Brown phrase, “Tell me more.”
“How do you do that?” Rather than, “Is it difficult to do that?”
Open-ended questions. They give me more information to work with AND they won’t put my listener on the defensive.
Tell me more = I genuinely want to know.
So there, I just gave away my 2023 tricks.
When I say, “Tell me more” to you, it’s now our inside joke. (I love having inside jokes.)
As one client recently told me, “You wear your heart on your sleeve and that’s why we love you.”
The previous newsletter was a very “heart on your sleeve” missive and more people wrote back to me than to any other newsletter.
I love it when you share your stories.
Tell me more.
Winter holidays are coming up, so is winter trade show season. Here’s what you need to know.
- I will be out of the office December 19-30th.
- The Garden of Words will be closed on U.S. federal holidays, Monday, December 26 and Monday, January 2. Your individual project managers have been and will be in touch with you about your specific work in relation to their end of year schedules.
- Our out-off-office emails will have emergency contact information in them. None of us are going to the moon. We’re just reading books and catching up on White Lotus. (NO SPOILERS.)
- We are holding discovery calls now for work to start February 15, 2023. If you’re currently holding a quote or a client services agreement, your work can be scheduled to begin once you finalize paperwork.
If you’ve been on the fence about reaching out, please email me today so I can set a time with you. We’re past the point of my self-book calendar being helpful to you for the next 6 weeks.
Here is our pricing.
Here’s a video + caption about what happens during and after a discovery call.
- Any current clients who want to top up their retainers during the endoftheyearmoneydumpTM* should email me today with instructions and I’ll invoice ya!
THANK YOU FOR BEING SO AWESOME, Y’ALL!
*That is neither a legal nor a financial piece of advice. Nor is it an actual word.
Proven Winners Webinars Coming in Hot!
I’m delighted to be presenting two webinars about SMS (text) marketing as part of the Proven Winners IGC webinar series. If you run any kind of business and are interested in SMS, sign up! They’re free and you’ll get the recording if you can’t attend.
January 5: Get Started with SMS: The low input – high reward marketing solution for Spring
February 23: SMS Supercharge for IGCs
Let’s get together, yeah, yeah, yeah!
Minneapolis, Minnesota for Northern Green January 10-12
Topics: Digital presence & Click and Collect
Tampa, Florida for TPIE January 18-20
Topic: Cultivate customers with SMS
Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania January 25-26
Private daylong workshop
Chicago, Illinois for iLandscape February 1-3
Topic: Spring Clean Your Website
If you are going to be in any of those areas, including southeastern PA, and want to meet up, please email me. We’ll see about a time!
Each newsletter always has a mix of fun and functional links.
A million free tech tools on one page (I have used these, but as always, make sure your computer protection software is up to date before using services like this.)
The BEST place to compare software features side by side
Thinking about switching email providers? Deciding between Shopify and BigCommerce? Considering a CRM? Check out Capterra.
Free 2023 Calendar templates
SUUUUUPER helpful for creating content and editorial calendars
This is not about circus peanuts
My favorite book of the year. (It IS about fingerprints.)
Happy holidays! See you on the other side!