November 8, 2010


By Dan Baker

There’s the story about the lady that runs into a butcher’s shop late in the day, and says, “I just found out I have company coming, and I’ve got to fix dinner and I need a chicken.” And the butcher says, “well, lady, what size chicken do you want?” and she says, “Oh, about a two pound chicken.”

So, the butcher goes back into the freezer, and realizes he only has one chicken left and it’s a 2 and a half pound chicken.  So the takes it out to the counter, puts it on the scale and picks it up a little bit and says, “There you go, lady, a two pound chicken.” And she says, “Oh, you know I just remembered; I have Janet coming also, so I’d better get a three pound chicken.” So the butcher takes the chicken back into the freezer, comes back out with the same chicken, puts it on the scale, and presses down a little bit, and says, “There you go, lady, a three pound chicken.”

Then, the lady says, “You know, I can’t make up my mind. I’ll just take them both.”

It’s funny how messed up communications can cause so much trouble. I would suggest to you that that butcher is in a world of hurt. Huh?

As a student driver, focused on your new career behind the wheel, out on the road, meeting the challenges of becoming a professional driver, please allow me to add one more item you can put into your tool box. As you are learning the ropes and getting familiar with what it means to be in the trucking business, please don’t forget one of the most important skills of all: Communication.

All really good professional drivers are usually excellent communicators; with their dispatcher, with the customers and with their family. What do I mean my communicating?

  • They look people in the eye and say what they mean and mean what they say.
  • They try to speak in a warm, friendly manner.
  • They talk loudly enough, clearly enough, distinctly enough to be heard.
  • They communicate the little stuff that so often gets neglected and can cause huge problems when it does.
  • They communicate everything on the spot, and leave as little for later as possible.
  • They learn that the most important form of communication is not talking, it’s listening.
  • They know that how you communicate is often as important as what you communicate.

Don’t assume people know what’s in your head: Always assume that the people you work with and live with do not know what you are thinking until you tell them. Be clear, be concise and be sure people know what you want them to know. Be a communicator.