Closed Loop Communications are Essential to Success

Stressed Out Guy at Computer Keyboard

Image Credit The Social Path - Click to Read "Stop Letting Social Media Stress You Out."

Abraham Harrison at Marketing Conversation recently wrote about the Social Media stress caused by feeling we must be always available and instantly reponding which prompted me to write a couple of comments that turned into this post.

As people grow their connections they will be forced to respond more slowly.

Their friends who aren’t as connected are likely to take offense, so we must be proactive about sharing with them WHY we can’t answer as quickly or often as we once did.

In my experience, most people believe everyone else’s life is just like theirs and that sets incorrect expectations. The less busy someone is the more they think everyone else has the time to interact with them at any and all times. Here is one way to reduce their expectation of immediate gratification: 

Carve out personal and productive times when you intentionally do NOT compulsively check for messages or answer non-urgent messages immediately.

Few realize how unreliable all of our communication methods are:

  1. Skype and chat drop messages that you send that never arrive.
  2. It is easy to miss messages on Social Networks.
  3. Voicemails you leave are often not delivered for hours or days and sometimes not at all!
  4. Email is one of the worst because ISPs (Internet Service Providers) often simoly delete email they suspect is spam without notifying the sender or the receiver.

This email issue  can affect 10-14+% of all email. I had a friend who bought a new laptop and forwarded all the existing mail on her old laptop through the three different email service providers she used. A huge percentage took days to arrive and something like 14% never arrived at all.

I strongly recommend that every person not consider the message delivered until confirmation is received.

Do NOT consider a message received until it is acknowledged!

That is why I prefer that people connect with me on Skype – so they can let me know to look for something they sent or ask to make sure I received it. Anything of a time sensitive nature is best done in real time.

We need to use closed loop communications for every relationship and especially important communications. The busier the people you connect with are and the more email they receive and followers they have the more likely it is that they never even saw what you sent.

We don’t want to be assume someone is ignoring us when the more likely reason they don’t respond is they never saw it – or if they did they are simply too busy right now. If it is important follow-up more than once over a reasonable period of time.

ASK for a response regarding whether and when they would like you to follow up and offer a status if you’re too busy but possibly will be interested at a later time.

Now that Facebook and LinkedIn and Blogging Communities all offer messaging capability and most people use Twitter and Skype or IM the potential for miscommunication is getting worse.

Be clear on your contact pages and when you start new personal and business relationships what your preferred method of communication is and just as clear about what you do NOT stay on top of (for example, some on Twitter check @UserName messages but rarely see DMs while others see DMs because they use Social Too to block auto-DMs and have the rest routed to their phones but don’t always see their @UserName Tweets).

As collaborations and niche communities emerge the leaders need to come to a consensus about what Social Networks and communications methods they will favor and which they will abandon. You simply can NOT be everywhere and stay on top of everything. Decide collectively what to use and focus on those.

Do you have tips to share on how to communicate more clearly or to make sure what you send arrives? Share them in the comments of this post.

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Gail Gardner

Small Businsss Strategist at GrowMap
Creator and owner of, Gail is primarily known for mentoring small businesses and encouraging bloggers to join collaborations to share skills and support small business.