About Workforce Echoes

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Communication Timing

Timing is everything; even when it comes to communication. I was having a really bad day yesterday and it seemed to coincide with the day that EVERYONE wanted to talk to me. My Blackberry was not working properly, my internet was down, my computer froze, and I had someone who owed ME money telling me that I owed THEM money. I had twice as much work to finish as I could possibly complete. It was just one of those generally irritating days. In the midst of this, my phone rang off the hook with problems. People I haven’t talked to in months decided that yesterday was the day to call. My husband, mother, son and daughter all called within 30 minutes of each other. They all had problems I needed to resolve. During several of these calls I was sitting in a lengthy traffic jam. As the problems piled on, my patience grew shorter. It was not a good day to get my undivided and positive attention.
This all reminded me of the importance of timing when it comes to effective communication. Don’t you hate walking into the office in the morning and have someone hit you with a problem before you even make it to your desk? That’s bad timing. How about if you want a raise; would you ask your boss when she is clearly in a terrible mood? Would you decide to interrupt and begin explaining some detailed assignment to your colleague when he is fully engaged in another project? Here’s a favorite; how about waiting until you are fighting mad to resolve an important conflict with your co-worker? We all know that anger makes us stupid, yet we choose to battle our most important battles when we are angry.
If you ignore timing, you may present a fantastic idea, with all the right facts and emotion, yet still have it shot down. If you had waited a day, the same idea might have been approved. People do not make purely logical decisions. That would be too easy! Our emotions often take over our reactions. So if you present an idea to me when I’m having a bad day, I am likely to find all the potential problems and holes with your plan. On a good day I might view your idea as interesting and inspiring.
Good communication involves some logical thought and curbing impulsiveness. Consider the other person’s current state of mind, time schedule, and emotions. It is in YOUR own best interests to wait till the timing is right. Don’t let a bad day spoil a great idea.

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