I Beg Your Pardon! WHAT Did You Say???

talking into ear     Have you ever been really self-conscious about something?  Something on your person (hair color, blemish, bulges) or something you did (left a mess, told a lie, arrived late) that’s on the forefront of your mind?  Have you noticed how any interactions you may have with people get filtered through that paranoid brain?  You are so focused on THE THING that how you interpret the world becomes a wee bit skewed. 

A certain motivational speaker friend of ours, Linda Larsen, speaks brilliantly on this subject in a funny and fascinating way. “What you name the thing, the thing tends to become.” 

I was reminded of this last night while teaching a Muscle Works class at the Y.  A student arrived late and was very flustered and apologetic as she was setting up her equipment.  I said “Grab heavy weights” and she whipped her head around and stared at me with wide, startled eyes.  I repeated what I had said and you could see the relief wash over her face.  “Oh!  I thought you said ‘Bad that you’re LATE!’”  The whole class got a chuckle out of that one and it reminded me of the time I had misinterpreted what a co-worker had asked me when I was a seamstress at a costume shop in L.A.So I shared it with the class:  

            What I heard: “Do you have a weight problem?”  (Which I did at the time.) 

            What she really said was: “Do you have a white bobbin?”                                     

Others in class started sharing their misinterpretations:

            What she heard: “Wow!  That zit!”  (Which she had on her chin)

            What was really said: “Wow!  That’s it!”


            What she heard: “What about the hair?” (Which was a new style for her)

            What was really said: “What about that player?”


            What she heard: “God, not real true.” (She had just told a white lie)

            What was really said: “Good to see you.”

All our efforts to communicate clearly, honestly and effectively can fly out the window if the listener has something else already in mind.  This presents just another layer of the challenge of communicating clearly. What misinterpretations have you made in the past that can be laughed at now?





Motivational Speaker Polly Pitchford didn’t always know the phytochemical benefits of kale, in fact, those words weren’t even in her vocabulary 30 years ago. Neither did she see any reason to do jumping jacks on a cement surface for an hour. But all it took was a chance vegetarian cooking class and some high-energy music to open her eyes upon a whole new world of healthy living. For 30 years Polly has practiced, studied, taught, educated and lived a healthy lifestyle that makes her such a powerful speaker.

Polly’s down-to-Earth and humorous approach mirrors her own lifelong journey to lasting, positive changes. The audience walks away with tangible plans for improving their health and their lives through food, fitness and fun.
To book Motivational Speaker Polly Pitchford, call 941-685-7725 or visit her at http://www.pollypitchfordmotivationalspeaker.com/

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  1. Ha ha ha! I LOVE this Polly! It's very funny that she heard what was in HER mind – not what was coming from your mouth. And this makes me wonder how many times I may have done this – ASSUMED someone said something they didn't say – but (and here's the cool part) – I'll never know because it has come and gone and I don't even have the chance to say, "Excuse me, what did you say?"  Okay, I'm going to start paying more attention. Thanks!!!

  2. Great examples of how much our thoughts influence everything! A different spin, but I was talking on the phone with my daughter and said, "I need to know" regarding thanksgiving plans. She hung up on me! When I called right back she thought I was getting a business call and said, "I need to go." It's a wonder we can communicate at all some days! Thanks Polly for making me aware of staying in the moment and truly listening to what's REALLY being said.

  3. This is a GREAT story Polly. Funny. True. And so filled with wisdom. I hope that you will memorize this story and use it on stage – and even open up the floor to let others in your audience share, just like you did in your fitness class. Rock on Polly!  (Wait, did she say "talk on"?)

  4. I remember having a heavy duty father-teenager talk with my dad and being 17 at the time, I listened to him and said 'good deal'.  He was furious!  He thought I had said, 'big deal' with sarcasm.  (didn't Colette just write a blog about that?)  Big, hurt feelings ensued.  Thanks for a reminder to be crystal clear on communicating.

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