So you've had your share of the occasional miscommunication, and perhaps were only slightly inconvenienced, or perhaps you were greatly put off. How do these things happen? Let's look at communication basics.
Before we can discuss how to communicate clearly, via email or telephone or other media, we need to define what communication is and is not.
Communication is NOT:
However, communication is:
Let's explore what this all means, with a little story.
Susan is a scheduler for ABC consulting firm. She receives an email request Monday morning for a consultant to meet with a client on Wednesday at noon. At this point, she sends an email to the consultant requesting her presence at the client's on Wednesday, and another email to the client letting them know the consultant is scheduled, and considers her job done.
Has she done her job?
Some of you may be snickering at this point. There are several huge communication gaffes here that need fixing before we can consider that she has communicated properly with her client and with her consultant. First and foremost, Susan has not communicated anything to anyone at this point.
How can I say that, when she sent 2 emails in response to the initial request?
Because she has absolutely no idea if either party received the message, and if they will follow through on the requests. Susan has committed the classic blunder of one-way communication based on assumption, taking the common and simple way out. While she may get lucky and all parties may receive the messages and proceed with the appointment, at some critical moment this precarious game based on luck and hope will break down. Ask me how I know!
As a consultant myself, and having worked for many years with different schedulers, I have had the exact situation above occur, only instead of receiving the email before the appointment, I got an email and phone call the day I was supposed to be there, asking me why I failed to show. Yet I had never received the initial email, for whatever reason. Or I had checked my email too late.
Simply put, technology fails. People don't always read emails even when they are sent on time. Without feedback from all parties acknowledging the original request, communication as I define it has not occurred. I define communication as a loop...
"Easy going - made me feel comfortable - not stupid (questions were patiently answered)"
-J. Goetz, Santa Ana, CA.