Vivek Mehrotra
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Real Life stories on Communication (III)

One of my team member who was to travel outside the state urgently, came to me with his requisition. As per his entitlement he was supposed to travel by train. However, it was summer vacation time hence; he was not getting the confirmed train reservation. He came to me with a request to sanction air fare. Looking into the urgency and the practical problem he was facing I agreed to sanction. I asked him to write a simple mail to me stating that he is not getting the confirmed train ticket, moreover the difference between train and air fare is not much hence, give your approval for air journey. Idea was that I could have given my approval on the same mail and would have send it to account department so as when he claims his expenses gets cleared without any further clarification.

He went back and wrote me a big mail giving me the details of train fare along with the commission charges to be given to travel agent and the amount he needs to spend on stay if he goes by train. He then compared the same against the check fares of two or three airlines. The whole thing was so confusing that I asked him to write again. He went back and wrote me another mail, which was once again very lengthy justifying his stance as to why his air fare should be approved. I called him and asked, why can’t he just write, “Due to summer vacation I am not getting confirmed train tickets and moreover the difference between the train and air fare is less than Rs. 500/-, hence kindly approve the travel by air”. The reason behind writing such a lengthy mail stated by him is a perfect example of generalization. He told me, “my earlier Boos for all such reasons used to ask for complete details else your request is never accepted”. The interesting part is that he was referring about a Boss with whom he had worked almost a decade back…..

(Excerpts from the book, ‘Why My Horse Doesn’t Listen – Learn to communicate effectively)

Vivek Mehrotra

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