Earlier today I posted an article on my professional website: “Forget SEO — Content is Still King”. A few minutes later, I linked the article on Facebook, where an insightful friend of my replied with this article: “Content Used to Be King. Now It’s the Joker.”
My friend wasn’t being contrary, argumentative or mean. I actually agreed with the article she posted. In fact, nothing in her link disagreed with anything I’d said in my article. The issue wasn’t a collision of concepts, but completely different meanings applied to the same word.
(For the curious, I intended “content” to convey the literal meaning, “the subjects or topics covered in a book or document.” However, sometimes the same word is used to refer to low-paying ghost writing gigs.)
Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed. Neither my friend nor I got snippy. It was easy to see we were talking about two different things, but this well illustrates something that often happens in communication. Just because two people use the same word doesn’t mean they’re saying the same thing. And, conversely, just because two people use a different word it doesn’t mean the disagree.
The key is learning to listen.
Before you let any conversation get confrontational, take the time to really understand what the other person is saying. Assumption is not your friend in those moments. I don’t care how good you think you are at reading between the lines, it’s always better to dig a little and make sure you’re picking up what the other person is laying down.
(And yes, I know I used the same picture not 10 posts ago. It’s solid quote and a great movie.)