What do most people want? Most people want:
- To solve their immediate pressing problems, easily and quickly (the movement towards pleasure and away from pain)
- To feel good about themselves à receive public recognition (the drive for self-affirmation)
- To be entertained, to laugh or have a lighthearted moment (life is short, eat dessert first!)
All in the space of a few online seconds!
The purpose of this blog is to serve the #1 want, in as much as the pressing problem is related to communication issues with others. And really, all problems with others are due to communication issues.
Much researching has given me a deep understanding of human behavior, especially communication problems with others reflecting universal human nature traits. We are hard-wired to behave certain ways. Knowing these secrets can help to solve many the communication problems.
As there are many pressing problems that could be addressed, it will take time to get to your issue (unless you comment and request it). But keep reading this blog and your issue will likely come up in time.
We live in a digital world. Online communication has become our primary communication channel – and our biggest headache.
Dealing with miscommunications, lack of clarity, and overall communication confusion has become a battle. The biggest culprit is email, which can consume up to 50% of working time. Yes, sadly a whopping 50% of the working day can be spent on email, and not wholly productive time either – wow!
So the overall focus of this blog will be on issues/problems in written communication, with a concentration on online communication problems in business.
To learn what the greatest communication frustration is in business and online communication, I recently surveyed over 200 LinkedIn contacts. The results were pouring in, even as I was sending out the one-question surveys. The subject touched a nerve.
This is not surprising as we spend so much of our time online. The digital channel has become our primarily channel of communication, for external and internal communications.
The LinkedIn survey results, while not surprising in content, were surprising in the clear message of the top two frustrations. The top two replies reflected more than 60% of overall responses. There was a big gap between the top two and the next two, which made up another 31%. And the intensity of all replies was ranked high, hence the quick replies. This subject touched a nerve indeed.
Here, then, are the survey results. And read on in future blog posts for how to deal with these problematic issues.
“Greatest Frustration with Online Communication
in Business” Survey Results
No response to emails 32%
Bombarded by huge volume of incoming, with little time to respond well, some were annoyed that others expected a fast response (the exact opposite response of #4). So much useless communication, spam and distractions online don’t allow the important messages to get through – being heard among all the online noise is the top frustration.
Hide behind technology 29%
This followed closely behind #1 – the ease and speed of online communication has displaced the effectiveness of phone and in person conversations, which is lamentable. We have diminished our capacity to call or visit, which is preferable to email. The result is time wasted instead of saved, by going back and forth in long email threads to try to clarify understanding, mistakes being made, and unnecessary conflicts arising due to misinterpretations of tone.
Assume incorrectly, don’t seek clarification 18%
Making assumptions without bothering to clarify, then acting on those assumptions causes problems (“I’m sorry, I thought…”; “I assumed you wanted me to do (blank) and you were OK with it.”), conflicts, and strains relationships needlessly. This rampant behavior also breaks trust, shows a lack of caring, and is as rude as it is wrong. An adjunct to this is switching channels situationally and not taking the time to insure full understanding (“Didn’t you get my text (response to email)?”; “I responded in FB to you (original question posed in voicemail).”)
Timely response – not! 13%
Failure to acknowledge receipt of the communication and respond in a timely manner was repeatedly noted. Common courtesy so the person isn’t left assuming the email was received and they aren’t waiting needlessly, or more likely being ignored. Important pieces of business can fall through due to emails that are a priority for one person not being prioritized by the other person.
Misc annoyances, but not strong numbers 8%
Other items contained in survey replies did not garner enough responses to note. Yes, personally annoying, but individually so and not shared by many others. Please mention in the comments if your top frustration was not one of these big 4.
Knowing these top grievances is one thing – doing something about them is another thing entirely. Having the knowledge the survey provided is only helpful if it is followed by answers and support on how to change the situation and how to solve the problems described.
Each frustration will be covered in upcoming blog posts.
Until then, continue the conversation by posting a comment below.