Communication is key

There is a famous saying by Stephen Hawking, which was quoted in the Pink Floyd song ‘Keep talking’, which goes All we need to do is make sure we keep talking.

In business and in life communication is the key to everything that we do, without it everything else falls down. In the modern age of the Internet and mobile phones it has never been easier to communicate with someone, for example you can communicate with someone via

  • Phone
  • Email
  • SMS
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Letter

This is just a few of them. But what actually happens when communication between a two parties actually breaks down?

This happened to me recently personally and it has been a very frustrating experience to put it mildly. Last summer we decided to have some work done in the garden, a job the to be quite honest I have not got the time to get done but really wanted done as it would be much better for the kids. So I did the natural thing and asked around if anyone knew of someone to do the job and sure enough someone was put forward. So he came along, I explained the job to him and we agreed a price. In mid Autumn we finally gave him the go ahead and off we went. Since he agreed to do the work he had got a new job and was training but still wanted the work so it was agreed that it could be fit around his new job. So on the first day it all went well and a lot was done, before leaving he said when he would be back and sure enough he was back again working on it. After he left again, I couldn’t recall when he said he would be back so I texted him to check and he let me know. After the third visit again he left but did not say when he was coming back so again I was chasing to find out when he was coming back. This pattern continued until the fifth day on the job where he hit some problems that was causing some major issue. He said he need to go off and have a think about it. That was in November 2011, since then I have repeatedly attempted contact without out success. The just before Christmas I had a reply to say he would be on it ASAP. I then chased it up a couple of days later but no reply. I chased it up again after the new year and got a reply back to say work had been manic and I had not been forgotten.

Now the work itself does not need to be finished until spring as the garden is not used in Winter but the issue is I have not got a clue what is happening. When my partner says ‘is it always going to be a building site?’,  ’It was better before he started’ and ‘so when is he coming back’ I have no idea what to say as I am not being told anything. The point is that all of the stress and aggravation could have been alleviated by setting the expectations at the outset and along the way. While I may not have been happy with the time frame I would at least know what to expect and more importantly be able to explain what is happening to other people when asked.

The moral of this story is just keep talking. When working with clients I always try to keep the client up to date, whether personally or via one of the team, on what is happening and when they can expect the next action to take place. Always remember; failure to communicate is a communication of failure.

– Rob

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