Coffee Beans & Communication


What do coffee beans have to do with communication? Today, Developers, Project Managers, Architects, Engineers, Contractors, Owners, Tenants and Building Inspectors active in the project development industry spend hours each day communicating. We use email, texts, phone conversations and seemingly endless meetings. It seems like we spend most of our time communicating. We try our best to be highly detailed in our communications and most of us think we’re very good communicators. Right? It’s true! But, are we actually communicating or miscommunicating? Here’s what I learned last week about coffee beans and communication.

My close friend and business associate Josh is a highly successful commercial real estate entrepreneur and also happens to be a formally trained chef. Josh shares my enthusiasm for experiences of the palette. We invited him over for an authentic Spanish paella dinner and I had purchased 5 pounds of very expensive whole bean coffee for him as a gift. I asked him to remind me to send it with him when he was ready to leave. Well, we both became involved with cooking, eating and talking and forgot all about the coffee when he departed.

The next morning I noticed the package of coffee sitting on the counter.  That day we had a lot of running around to do and I knew Josh would be running around town checking on several of his projects. So, I texted him and said I’d leave the coffee package on the front porch. He knew I had errands to run and I knew he had jobs to check on. I set the coffee out on our front porch and went about the day.  We arrived home late and didn’t think about the coffee any more. The next day I noticed the coffee was still on the front porch. I was baffled. I sent Josh a text and told him it was still on the porch. He texted me back saying he had just checked his front porch for the third time and the coffee was not there. Ahhh! He thought I was going to drop it by his house and I thought he was going to pick it up from mine.  That small bit of location information was crucial to a successful communication and in this case was the cause for its failure.

That’s what coffee beans have to do with communication!  Next time I’m communicating, I’ll remember coffee beans and I hope you do too!

Robert Hoover is President & CEO of Hoover Projects Inc. a premier commercial real estate project management firm serving corporate clients across the USA since 1989.  We deliver mission critical projects on time and on budget. Call us: 1-214-349-4136. Visit our website

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