Beware of all your assumptions

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Never Assume withMartijnBeware of all your assumptions

You might have heard that assumption is the mother of all f#ck-ups — which is a quote from the movie Under Siege 2, featuring Steven Saegal — or that to assume makes an “ass” out of “u” and “me”. I’ve recently had the opportunity to be reminded of this truth. So I advise you to stay on the look-out, because it can easily happen to the best of us.

Everybody has a different notion

The other day, I attended a meeting to evaluate a collaborative project. One of the team members — who also works as a moderator — ran us through her proces. In those rare cases I’m not facilitating the meeting myself, I’m always interested to see what I can learn from another professional. Along the way, it became apparent there was a discrepancy in the group on the concept of “evaluation”. And that the objectives of our meeting were not made explicit enough.

We all have certain expectations

This example made it clear that everyone makes assumptions, based on their ideas of how things work. All participants had certain expectations. And it struck me how these can differ quite a bit. Remind yourself that we all work from different frames of reference, which are defined by our past experiences — especially when you work with people from different fields of expertise or companies.

Validate! Validate! Validate!

Never assume everything is clear in your communication. Ask questions to ensure the person you are communicating with, fully understands what you’ve said. Verify the assumptions you make. State your expectations more explicit. Explore abstract concepts in more detail, so you know everybody is on the same page. And this works of course both ways.

Your message is your obligation

Remember you are responsible for landing a clear message. If another person doesn’t understand something, it’s because you haven’t explained it properly. Always keep in mind that it’s your responsibility. Once you’re more aware of your assumptions and validate them by asking questions, your impact improves. Because this helps your communication in becoming much stronger.


Strong communication is an important skill for every Marketing Superhero. Learn more skills in my book “How to Become a Marketing Superhero” which you can order here.


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