Goshen, MA (Marcia Yudkin) In the book “Cork Dork,” journalist Bianca Bosker describes shadowing a sommelier one evening at a posh Manhattan restaurant where it wasn’t unusual for diners to spend $500 per bottle of wine. In that setting, the sommelier has to intuit what would please the clients while observing how they were dressed, where they were from, how they talked about what they wanted and how they answered at most three questions about their wine preferences.
Just three questions: Wow. And occasionally clients’ three answers were incoherent or wildly misinformed.
This story got me thinking about the connection between experience and intuition. The more times you have encountered variations of a certain situation, the more implicit knowledge you tend to have. That is, the more easily you can draw correct conclusions from what appear to be few clues – and perhaps without being able to explain the reasoning involved. Research with firefighters and other first responders has brought to light more about this phenomenon.
If you too have years of experience, perhaps only three questions can reveal loads to you about a client’s needs. It’s a process of attunement.
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