What You Said is NOT What I Heard


By Mary B. Mabry, CAPP

Have you ever been in a situation at work or a professional gathering where you hear something being said and suddenly think, “Wait, what did they just say? “ Was that what they meant to say, or did I hear that correctly? At that moment, you feel like you want to freeze frame that specific verbiage from the conversation, back it up to hear it again, and maybe look directly at them for a facial indication that reassures you of the intention with which it was said.

It happens more often than we feel comfortable with, and many times people say things, whether unknowingly or through a misunderstanding, that will offend or misrepresent the intention of the statement. Often we will walk away with hurt or indignant thoughts, or think, “Why did I not correct them or question them, why did I not respond?” And much of the time we come up with a thought or statement we wished we had or should have said back to their comment once the moment has passed. Unfortunately, we tend to spend more time thinking about what we needed to say and not how this could have been prevented in the first place.

Often people don’t mean to offend; they will repeat something they have heard or have no idea their comments or even compliments could be misconstrued and be offensive, demeaning, or even disrespectful. At the upcoming 2023 TPTA Conference & Tradeshow, Richard Easley, CAPP, Mary Mabry, CAPP, and a cast of your peers will embark on a highly informative, provocative, interactive, and necessary event. Be prepared to dive into uncomfortable situations and scenarios acted out by your peers as we explore some often-heard comments and conversations that can mean something very different to your co-workers or associates. We will use humor and the possibility of uncomfortable/challenging situational conversations to shed light on how people different from you may misunderstand your statements, and how many things said are not appropriate for the workplace or anywhere else in some cases.

So, join us at the Hilton-Dallas/Plano, on April 12th at 1:30 p.m. at 1:30 p.m. Click here for more information. 

Mary Mabry, CAPP,  is  Project Manager/Client Advocate – Parking Solutions for Cardinal Tracking, Inc. She can be reached at mmabry@cardinaltracking.com.