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.

  • 5 More Essential Tips for Social Media Engagement (marketingconversation.com)
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Gail Gardner

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

Comments

  1. hi.yes,Skype for me too..especially for international customers in our part…we can do video chat and also keep close contact with them

  2. i am not so happy with Skype as of the moment…i cant read any pm can’t chat.

  3. this broadens my understanding of what a closed loop communication is.I wonder where the missing im and email go?floating in cyberspace?:)
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  4. I think we all rely on social media all the time that when it does not work we are in a limbo or sorts.
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  5. lately, i have been disappointed with skype..messages are gone ;(.this is such a bad thing for skype.

  6. Thanks for this value able post. I have read all the things very carefully its really a helpful and effective post. I will definitely bookmark your blog.

  7. What I hate about Skype is that many people think it’s like msn: You send a message when somebody is offline, they will receive it when they come online. That is NOT the case!
    With Skype both sides (the sender and the receiver) need to be online at the same time for a message to get delivered.
    If you are offline and I send you a message, the next time you come online but I am offline, you will not receive the message.
    Very unreliable and quite useless.
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  8. Your post reminded me of an International Forum on Media and Communications that I have attended last year. One of the speakers discussed about the impact of social networks in making communication faster. He said that there must be less communication gap nowadays since we are the generation that is the most connected considering the massive users of facebook, twitter, and linkedin. I agree with the statement here on your post that “As people grow their connections they will be forced to respond more slowly. ” I think, the problem is that people became more confident about the social media that they trusted to much on the speed of communication it can instantly carry the message to the receiver. But,there are always flaws, and technology is not always perfect.

  9. Excellent points. We need more personalization in our communications. This is what technology drives us to. Well written article thank you.
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  10. Good advice for social media communicator but here are lots of stress due to another reason like some professional and few personal but i am helpless solve about them. i don’t have solution about that what i should do or not.
    well thanks article

  11. As far as professional emails are concerned, one has no way out other than replying it. But that too can be prioritized. Social media stress, are hugely caused by us when we try to be in touch with everyone we know virtually. It has become an ugly habit for most of us to answer ASAP. Reducing our hours on social network sites can work as a favor for us.

  12. Brilliant post! I really enjoyed reading your thoughts about closed loop communications. I got several points that were essential in my part as being engage in business areas. Sometimes we may misinterpreted other person because we arrive to a certain conclusion without further explanation from the other party/parties. I think we must be open minded enough to face situations to avoid conflicts. Anyway, thanks for this one of a kind post.

  13. Just work as profession and no need to be personal on networking sites. One should care only about increase own business by it.

  14. I have seen some bloggers who are extremely good a responding to all of their readers comments and it makes me wonder how do they have the time to do it. But it also makes me feel like wow, I am actually talking to a real person and my voice isn’t just randomly going off in to the infinite abyss called the internet.

  15. I would just like to say to all my fellow Entrepreneurs…just remember that persistence is the key to success.

  16. One of the great things about email is that you could send to anywhere in the world and at any time, and the person at the other end could respond in their own time – no hassle. I think it’s the social media instant tweets and such like that have increased the possibility of social media stress.

  17. COMMODITY TRADING COURSE says:

    It is necessary to not jump to a conclusion. Not everyone has time to answer 100 emails a day. If the relationship is important, then set time to discuss whatever it needs to discussed.

  18. Gabriele Maidecchi says:

    The most used method of closed loop communication that I see around in my business is the classic phone call to confirm you received a certain email.
    For how much I hate this practice, I can understand the lack of confidence people have in email in general, especially with the rampage of Spam and consequential aggressive behavior of most anti-spam filters.
    I usually prefer skype communications as well, even if sometimes it definitely has its moments, especially if you use it among several devices.

  19. “I strongly recommend that every person not consider the message delivered until confirmation is received.”
    Yes from kids that we have let communication in school, we were thought “communication is not complete until feedback is heard”, i think that is becoming more true now as today social site are now the most preferred spot of the people on the web.

  20. Shailender says:

    This is very new concept for me like other guys. But I must say that it’s very essential too. Thanks for sharing it.

  21. Very timely reminder Gail and thankyou. There are also time zones to take into consideration when communicating too.

    Because I am in Australia, I have had people call me at all hours of the early morning from the US forgetting that Sydney is not the only place in Australia where bloggers/marketers live lol I always check the world clock if I’m not sure of a time zone. Especially if booking a skype call.

    Skype is a great way to communicate. Emails can be so slow and as you rightly point out, they sometimes just don’t arrive. On Twitter if I DM someone, I always Tweet that I have DM them. Cos not everyone checks their messages.

    We all have our own systems and as I have got to know other bloggers, I have learnt how best to communicate and with each person it can be different. Really enjoyed the post. Thanks Gail.

    Patricia Perth Australia
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  22. This is great advice. Whenever someone emails me, I setup an autoresponder that tells the person my preferred method of communication is thru phone if it’s urgent. Otherwise, I may not respond back very quickly. It’s a great way to let ppl know how to contact me if it’s very urgent.
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  23. Ivan Walsh says:

    Hi Gail,

    While one can be everyone one’s attention and productivity is diminished in proportion to the number of sites you use. It’s just maths really. You can’t give your FULL attention to different channels all the time, well I can’t anyway.

    However, I have fine-tuned ways to have more impact, such as processing emails in batches rather than adhoc through the day and…

    on Facebook, I give myself 10 min to go thru the stream and then jump back out

    on Twitter, I use list to follow like minded folks — like you — and ignore the rest.

    Regards,

    Ivan

  24. Thank you for this timely article. The part regarding email delivery is especially pertinent as I have encountered a problem on a recent giveaway where I never received an email from the original winner. I chose a second-runner up, and over one month later the original winner wanted to know why she never received her prize.

    It was only when she used my Contact button that I received her email, which was behind a proxy server, and must have been sent directly to my spam folder.

    People don’t understand that certain comments and email addresses such as aol have a good chance of being sent to spam, especially if blogs don’t have proxy server comments also enabled.

    I don’t necessarily have the time to go through my entire spam folder to see if a legitimate email has slipped into it.

    While I do use Skype on occasion, I still prefer to be contacted via email, and also employ the use of a Contact button on my blog as a backup to standard email.
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  25. Ileane
    Twitter:
    says:

    Gail, I’ve done some testing in this area too and I came to the same conclusions as you. I would send emails to my daughter and all of a sudden, there was a 2 – 3 day delay before she would receive them. I was using Outlook and sending the emails to her Yahoo address. We switched over to Gmail and found that the response time was still slow but not as bad.

    We also tested document sharing in Google Docs and that method seems to be the fastest and the one we’re currently using.

    The other thing we need to keep in mind is that everyone has different connection speeds and internet access – and in my daughter case – some of us have bloated computers! For example when we’re on Skype, if I try to share my screen with her it’s extremely slow, but if she shares her screen with me, I can see what she’s doing in real-time. Skype is also a great alternative to all of the dropped calls she gets on her iPhone.

    So even friends and family who are being proactive about communicating with one another need to do some testing and find out what works best for a given circumstance. Be persistent and have a back-up plan if you can.

    Thanks for the encouragement Gail. It can be discouraging at times, for people to think they are being ignored online, but many times that’s not the case. This post is a great reminder to us all.

  26. Hi Gail,
    I think choosing limited, specific ways of communicating and stating as such is definitely the answer. You are so right we can’t be everywhere at once and managing a multitude of communication connections quickly becomes impossible. Something always gets missed.

    As you may remember I started blogging without a plan. While it is not my profession, I learned that joining lots of social media and bookmarking sites serves no purpose if you don’t respond and interact with others; a real waste of time and perhaps even missed opportunities.

    Since then, Twitter has become my preferred communication method for blogging however email is still what works best for our construction business. I always request read receipt with emails and will follow up with a second email or phone call if I don’t receive a receipt within a reasonable time. My hope is the local industry as a whole will move to a new communication standard soon.

    Very informative and helpful article Gail, as always!
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  27. Rahul solanki says:

    very informative and in my life its first time to read about closed loop communications concept.
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  28. I think closed loop is a new addition in communication world as I have read it first time.

  29. Very informative indeed. It’s my first time to come accross closed loop communications concept.

    Thanks for sharing.
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