Communication is more a science than an art. There are guidelines and even rules that can govern communication which we can use to train people, yet it remains one of the most frustrating aspects of people’s modus operandi!
One of the most frustrating communication traits is when there is silence, when there should be some form of communication. You know what I mean … that contractor who was going to build your back yard deck was supposed to start last Monday, but he didn’t show and he won’t return your calls.
You were expecting to hear from that relative visiting from abroad, and you don’t know if they are going to show up.
You were expecting an update on a project that is late, but have received nothing.
You applied for a job and you don’t even know if your resume was received, because the recruiter hasn’t even acknowledged your application.
There are many, many such situations.
Invariably, when (if) communication does happen it will begin with, “I had nothing to tell…” or “I was waiting for news to give you…” or “I assumed…”
“Silence is a text easy to misread.” A. A. Attanasio
We all know that “silence” can be deafening when we are expecting news, but somehow we don’t always translate that into what other people are feeling!
Here are a few thoughts on the subject …
- Most times more communication is better than less communication. (That does not include talking instead of listening.)
- It is OK to communicate the fact that there is nothing to report.
- Try to put yourself in the shoes of people who might expect to hear from you.
- Poor communication erodes relationships as much as anything.
- When you don’t communicate at all, the person at the other end will make assumptions that you might not want them to make!
Great communicators are thoughtful, not only in the messages they deliver, but also in when they deliver them.
“Communication is a skill that you can learn. It’s like riding a bicycle or typing. If you’re willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life.” Brian Tracy
Having said all of the above, there are absolutely many times when silence is preferable to words … just not when people are waiting anxiously for an update!
Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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