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When Communications are a Problem at Work

It wasn’t too long ago when I mentioned that a majority of job recruiters still value soft skills. Those are the skills that include interpersonal and emotional intelligence, especially communications. So why do so many workers suck at them?

I have come across several situations over the past week alone where I am left stumped wondering what in the world happened to whoever it was I had last communicated with, whether by phone or email. I’m talking here about sending an email or talking to someone by phone with a request or a question. The result is always the same: either I don’t get a reply within the same day or I never hear back from that person.  At times, I’m  left wondering if these persons have forgotten that we are living in the internet age, where communications are faster and easier.

Especially when you’re at work, with the workday going at lightening speed, and tasks and responsibilities are now easier to tackle. How is that you don’t see someone’s name flashing off your email account or your phone blinking rapidly in that florescent red color when you arrive at your office?

It’s been my experience that the most common reply after a follow-up is, “I’m busy.” I’ve come to learn that the reply is a copout. You’re not busy. You’re either searching for the answer, placing someone at the bottom of your priority list, or you don’t feel the matter is urgent enough, at least in your one-sided, selfish perception.

Bottom line is: the absence of prompt replies and basic interaction is lazy and rude when communications are not addressed in a timely fashion. What is timely? Here are some pointers:

  1.  If you receive an email and you’re not sure what the answer is, reply to the email within the next one to three hours, the end  of the day the most, and let the person know you’ll get back to them within “x” amount of time.
  2.  If you’re unable to address an email or phone request by the end of the day, reply to the individual and notify them as to when you can or will.
  3.  If you’re ignoring someone’s communication for whatever reason, don’t play dumb when you bump into this individual at a meeting or in the lobby.
  4. Show those who reach out to you some courtesy, even if it’s someone you don’t really care for. Your actions or lack thereof is a reflection of you and your mannerisms, and not the person who is communicating with you.

Keep this in mind next time you show up at work: you’re not the only one with a to-do list or a boatload of responsibilities to get through. According to the latest research, most employees are stressed out of their minds by the time they leave for work. Don’t add to their misery.

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