In This Edition:
1. Technology Bites Back
2. No Interest, or Never Recieved?
3. The Lack of Message Is the Medium
4. On the Lighter Side
April showers bring May flowers or so it is said. Here in North Carolina, winter and spring this year have reversed themselves a bit, but either way it’s been very pleasant.
Technology Bites Back
While my assistant was dutifully correcting contact information in my database, unbeknownst to me or her, someone inadvertently clicked on an email address with the left mouse button of a particular record. An email receiving window opened up, and all of the email that I normally would have received on my computer instead was downloaded to my assistant’s computer.
In other words, emails that should have come to me, quickly become misdirected. It doesn’t sound like much of a problem until you understand that the misdirection happened in a nanosecond. When I finally figured out this strange and undesirable anomaly, I discovered to my dismay that responses sent to me, as many as four weeks ago, were sitting on my assistant’s computer. People had replied to me following my query, or people had sent me some new information that simply sat there for days or weeks.
It doesn’t sound like much of a problem until you understand that the misdirection happened in a nanosecond.
Usually when you send an email to another person and don’t receive a reply for days or weeks, you conclude that person is not interested in corresponding with you, and had let the matter go. In my case, dozens of people were interested in corresponding with me, and I let the matter go, because I had no idea they had ever answered me. When I understood the full impact of this onerous software glitch, I sat at my desk with my head in my hands. Who else, I wondered, was expecting a reply from me and never heard back because I assumed I had never heard back from them?
A larger question arose, how else is technology preventing each of us from effectively communicating with others? What instant messages and cell phone calls and other transmissions go this way instead of that way, and we never know what has actually transpired? One week later, I replaced the old software with a new contact-management program, which has no feature that can even remotely usurp your email, or anything else you don’t want it to do.
In recognition of the potential for miscommunication and misunderstanding, I now send a follow up email a day or two later to everyone from whom I have not received a reply. In many cases I am again ignored, but enough times I receive a reply from someone who lets me know they had replied earlier. I then send them back a message saying, “Thanks. I am so glad you got in touch with me for a second time. I didn’t receive or was otherwise unaware of your response.”
The Lack of Message Is the Medium
Email has become the default form of communication. During the business day I wonder how many times across America and throughout the world technological glitches end up causing people to believe that they have been ignored, or their idea lacked merit, or the other person did not want to correspond with them. Such a sad state of affairs.
Boy meets girl. Boy sends email message to girl. Girl responds affirmatively, but boy never receives the message. All too often this spells the end of what might have been a budding relationship. A business professional sends out a proposal. Prospect responds to proposal and is enthusiastic about proceeding. The business professional never receives a response and assumes the worst. However, being a business professional, he or she will resend, thus upping the probability that an effective connection will actually be made.
I have learned my lesson the hard way. I am going to take all precautions, from here on in, to ensure that a party with whom I wish to correspond knows that I wish to correspond, and I am going to take all precautions to ensure that I receive whatever responses they sent back to me. How can one proceed any other way?
On the Lighter Side
I was at a conference listening to the introducer for another speaker. He said, “I’ve known Bob since 1996. Before that, Bob was unknown.” Everyone in the audience laughed, including Bob. It is so rare when you encounter an introducer who truly primes the audience for the speaker.