The biggest challenge in any relationship is effective communication. The most common arguments that I get into with my boyfriend are due to the root cause of miscommunication and lack of follow through. Usually, it is when both of us drop the ball and focus more on letting our emotions rule our actions rather than strategically thinking, “How can I communicate clearly without emotional bias?” On the personal level, it can be very extreme in consequence. However, it can also happen in the workplace.
Follow through is especially important in the workplace. If you sent an email to Amanda asking if she has a specific piece of information, she replies with the information, and then you neglect to follow up with a closing email, she does not know you got the information and then has to spend valuable time sending another email to check you got the original email. This is not only an inefficient use of time, as it also gets in the way of productivity and disrespects the other person’s time. Communicating effectively is a must for any working organization to run smoothly, just like your car needs oil to run smoothly. Without the oil, people’s words cause enough friction to result in a roadblock in overall performance.
Here is a recent personal example: I was looking into how to change my name one Friday afternoon and found that in order to do so, I must put notice in a local publication for a fee. I had a question about the procedure, so I sent an email to the publication. The person on the other end of the email responded quite promptly. I saw the email, read it and did not reply. I did not think it was necessary in my quest for information about this topic. However, that next Monday, I got an email from a different person from the same publication. She wanted to know whether I had gotten the information I needed, as I hadn’t replied to the other person assuring I got the information. She also wanted to know whether or not I wanted to pursue the course of action for changing my name. I replied immediately and said I did get the information, thanked the lady and told her I would think about my next course of action. By not replying to the lady who first sent me the email with the information, her superior had to take time out of her work day to reply to my question that had already been answered. In doing so, I had disrupted their productivity and disrespected their time because of it.
In conclusion, not only is effective communication essential to a workplace running smoothly, it’s a matter of respect as well. So don’t forget to send a quick “Thanks!” to the person who just forwarded you that last email you needed!