Navin was awfully tense. He had managed to get his two kids to school with the greatest of difficulty. His wife generally took care of getting them ready every day but she had had to leave town the previous night. She had flown off to another city due a medical emergency for her father during the night.

The call had come late that evening. Then followed the hurried packing, the rushing for tickets, the flurry of calls back and forth, the dash to the airport, the explanation to the kids who couldn’t understand why their routines had been jerked like this. He would have to cope for at least a week.

Fighting the morning traffic he managed to reach his office. He knew he was already late for a meeting scheduled with his boss but he hoped his boss would understand.

“There you are” boomed his boss as Navin walked towards his cubicle. “Late as always. Why do you come at all? Have you no sense of responsibility? I was waiting for you for 30 minutes. Can’t you be on time even for my meeting?” Heads turned, almost every one in the large hall was distracted by the booming voice of the Boss fading away as he called Navin into his office.

“Irresponsible” he said “Most unexpected of you to make me wait like this. Careless and inconsiderate”.

Navin had had enough. “Let me explain” he said in a calm but firm voice. “You don’t know what I have been through for the last 24 hours. Many in my position may not have come at all. Please listen to all that I have to say.”

He went on to explain the circumstances why he could not come on time. On hearing his story, the Boss realized his mistake. He told Navin he now understood what had happened.

The Boss could have saved himself, and Navin, considerable embarrassment by first seeking to find out what had happened. Instead of jumping to conclusions.

He could have asked in many ways, for example:

“Is there any reason why you were late?”
“Why couldn’t you come as scheduled?”
“How come you kept me waiting?”
“How did you miss our appointment?”

Often we don’t ask. We give vent to our feelings without finding out the facts. It is better to find out more information before jumping to conclusions. For effective communication,
“Questions first, statements later” is a good practice to follow.

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