Ask. Not Assume.

It was one of my first global conferences of the year. I was thrilled to be speaking to a new community and a new geography.

The organizers did a great job of putting together a website that provided all details of the conference – the agenda, speakers and sessions. I made a note of the time of my session. It was a Saturday evening.

On the day of the event, I was enjoying lunch with my family when one of the organizers pinged me on LinkedIn checking if everything was okay and if I was facing any technical difficulty. I confirmed that all was well. My heart sank when he explained that my talk would be starting in 2 minutes! The next 2 minutes would’ve well qualified for my Fast and Furious audition entry. I took 2 minutes to get into a minimum presentable position and was Live the third minute. The session went well. While I was devastated that I was a minute late, I was equally relieved that it was just one.

So here’s what happened.

The website had published the time of my session correctly- the time I eventually took the session at. But I’d ASSUMED that the time displayed on the site was their local time and I took the (unnecessary) trouble of doing the math and converting it to IST (Indian Standard Time)! Well, its a global conference with international speakers and the website time should reflect the event’s/ organizer’s geography– I thought. I’m glad my presentation deck was ready ahead of time and that LinkedIn notifications worked (thank you LinkedIn engineering). Though I was grateful for having scraped through a potentially embarrassing episode, my biggest takeaway was this – Ask. Do not Assume.

I must confess- I had doubts regarding the time from the very beginning. I “assumed” that the session times reflected that of their geography. I shied away from asking. Had I weighed the consequences of being wrong about my assumptions -vs- the possibility of sounding dumb by clarifying the time – I would’ve chosen the former.

LEARNING

Ask. Don’t Assume. Choose peace over discomfort.

What’s been your “didn’t ask but assumed” moment?

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