Recently I was staying at a hotel for business on the mid-north coast of NSW. At breakfast, I noticed a group of women golfers sitting near me. They seemed like nice people.

The power of the hotel went out. Heading back to my room I stopped at reception to ask the best way to go. Two of the women were a few paces behind me. One said to the other, just loud enough for me to hear, "Use the stairs you dufus! Must be an accountant."

What the woman didn’t know is that I am an engineer and as an engineer I am analytical. She also didn’t know that I have plenty of hotel and office building fire stairs experience. I know that using the fire stairs is not a cut and dried exercise, particularly in an older building that is designed like a rabbit warren. I was simply making sure I went straight to my room. I did not want any failed attempts.

Yes, I got angry. No, I did not say anything. I simply ignored her and went about my business in the pleasant knowledge that the perpetrator must be a big "assumer" and therefore has had, and will continue to have, many unpleasant surprises in her life.

Natural tendencies like Face-ism and experienced-based tendencies like Risk-ism that I have written about recently are perceptions that lead to certain assumptions. In my Persuasive Advisor Program, I like to highlight the risk assumptions pose to people’s decision making. How to identify them and how to break them down. Here is an old blog of mine about breaking down assumptions in a risk workshop.

To finish, as the old saying goes, “Never ass-u-me as you will make an ass out of u and me!”

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