12 Degrees… (The Devil is in the Details)

I had a pretty awesome math teacher when I was in high school in Chewelah, WA. She made math accessible and… dare I say fun. This teacher was also known to host the occasional foreign exchange student.

One year, she was getting an exchange student from an Eastern European country. While this student was planning and packing, he called and asked my teacher about the weather. She promptly replied that it can get cold in our area, sometimes even down to 10-12 degrees during the winter.

A few weeks later the exchange student showed up. A few weeks after that winter showed up as well, along with the snow and cold. Inconveniently, the exchange student hadn’t brought anything warmer than a sweatshirt. Turns out, he was thinking 12° celsius, which is just about 50° fahrenheit, and definitely not 12° fahrenheit.

Neither of them thought to ask about the temperature conversion, or more importantly, whether the other person was thinking in terms of celsius or fahrenheit.

It’s important to occasionally ask yourself, “what am I saying, what do I think I’m saying, and what do people really think I’m saying?” Each question is different. As a brand or business, asking these questions should be routine.

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