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Communication is one of the most difficult things human beings do. It is fraught with opportunity for creating conflict. Indeed, communication guru Lee Thayer tells us,
“The fundamental result of all communication is misunderstanding.”
Communication is best done face-to-face, because we get not just the words, but the vocal inflection, the tone of voice, body language and all the elements of communication. When communication is limited to words, as in emails and text messages, misunderstanding is much more likely. Really, has anyone not become crosswise with someone over a misunderstood email or text? And that’s the point.
It’s become ever more common for important messages to be sent via text or email, leading to questions like, “He broke up with you with a text?!?!” Don’t do that.
Nearly as bad is when someone asks you to call them and they not only don’t answer their phone, but they don’t respond to your voice messages. Call me silly, but I think that’s rude.
And it most certainly isn’t good leadership for your people. Make it a habit to answer VMs, emails and texts within a tight time frame. It will tell your people you respect and honor them. And if there’s something you need to say that has a charge to it, do it in person so that you don’t create that misunderstanding Lee Thayer predicts.
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