We were half way through it when we both realised that we were each talking about a completely different issue. No wonder the conversation was not going very far.
In recent months I have been involved with two organisations where the same thing has happened. Senior managers assumed the people they wanted to reach knew what they were talking about. In both cases the intended audiences knew little if anything about the subject.
Both organisations exhibited self referential communications: a symptom which runs along the lines of I know what I mean therefore everyone else must know what I mean.
As communicators it is very easy assume because we have invested time and effort in producing key messages, designing brochures, distributing media releases etc, that people - apart from us - know what we are on about.
There must be some high sounding term in the science of communications to describe this effect. I'm not sure what it is so I simply describe it as the assumption effect and it has probably been the root cause of countless failed PR and marketing campaigns.
Never assume the people you want to reach know what you are talking about until they demonstrate that knowledge. That sounds simple but I wonder how many times your personal or organisational communications have been de-railed by making false assumptions at the outset.
That's why it always pay to market research your audiences, and if the data or observation are not there, never assume they either know or care about what you want to communicate.