Thursday, August 18, 2005

My rant on communications

I am intrigued about the communication process - please forgive this rant but I need to get it off my chest :-)

I constantly find myself chasing e-mails that have not been acknowledged and following up things that just don’t seem to happen despite being promised.

There is never a week when I do not have to chase some communication or other.

I find many people do not even acknowledge an e-mail, phone message, text message or letter. To me this is really no different than meeting someone in the street – saying ‘hello’ and being completely ignored as the person walks on by not even acknowledging you.

Through experience in my life and career I have found it is simply not good enough to ‘let the system happen’ and rely on the fact that people will always respond. They often do not. You just have to follow up. It may feel that you are being a right pain in the backside and you will be accused of being obsessional. I really don't care about that - I find it is the only way frankly to ensure things happen

I can only speak as I find and in my experience unless you follow up there is a distinct probability you will simply be ignored and you may miss something important.

There are of course notable exceptions. Most of my regular contacts respond to me and I love that.

I always try - at the very least - to acknowledge every piece of communication I receive – even if it is just a short e mail to let the person know I have got their message. I also like to do it quickly. I feel that is the least I can do – acknowledging the fact that someone has taken their time and trouble to contact me.

My late Dad would simply call that good manners!

Modern organisations like and are just fabulous at all this and their service is exceptional. The customer is kept up to date with progress of their order and the delivery is usually within two days – awesome service, underpinned by awesome communication.

As individuals we can learn from such organisations. They have realised that exceptional customer service relies on exceptional communication.

We can all use the excuse ‘we are too busy’ and do not have time. Tom Peters is clearly one of the ‘busiest’ people in the world. And yet Tom – with all that he has to do – has found the time in his manic schedule to acknowledge occasional e mails I have sent to him.

Has communication become so easy that we have become relaxed about it all and thus losing what I see as good manners of acknowledging correspondence?

'The Problem with communication is the ILLUSION that it has been accomplished' - George Bernard Shaw

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