Zen is you – Be.

The Roaring Silence…

Posted in satisfaction, values by dave225 on June 17, 2009

No, not my silence on this blog… Yes, it’s been silent, but as far as I know, not roaring.

I know I’m guilty of this, and I try to understand when other people do it. Silence, while seeming innocuous at one end, can feel like a huge insult to the receiver.  (Can you actually receive silence? If one hand claps in the forest, do any bears .. wait, wait, um, something like that..)

Not only can silence present the feeling of being ignored – worse, the receiver will misappropriate the cause of that silence and will often act upon that perceived cause.  This can obviously be counterproductive and damaging to a relationship.

No time for pleasantries.

No time for pleasantries.

Immediacy of feedback can be more important than the content of the feedback itself.   (Hello? Is this thing on? Can you hear me in the back?)  Answer phone calls, emails, etc with an acknowledgment right away (unless you’re trying to snub someone.)

Now this seems like pretty elementary advice – yet in business we discount the value of social protocols as we focus on “I’m so busy.  Must get things done.”  I get over 100 emails a day, on (unmathematical) average.  To return each of those would consume the majority of my day.  But there I go – relating it to my day.    Setting norms for which email should be responded to and how & when, can mitigate some of that overhead.  The people that I see on a regular basis know that we will see each other and we will talk soon enough.  So email among that group is viewed as a one-way information communication tool (and RSS inside a firewall is a clunky mess.)  Any other decisions or discussions mean we meet in person (or video.)

Unfortunately, it’s the people you work with less often and that, frankly may be of lower immediate criticality to you, that silence most affects.  These are the relationships that need the most care and feeding.  (“The ones that love us least are the ones we die to please.” -PW)

What’s the payback?  Trust.  You determine how much that’s worth.