Sending Two Messages at Once...

assertive communication communication effective communication effective leadership influence leadership leadership communication leadership culture value Dec 02, 2022
assertive communication

Since we can’t realistically expect others to just be patient indefinitely and maintain any level of leadership with them, or any respect for that matter, let’s look at what we can each do to make sure we’re sending the message we intend to - knowing that failing to reply completely often sends a louder message than any words we could choose!

Before I go too far though, I do have a confession to make… I’ve never replied to any of the dozens of emails I get each week about the donations someone from Nigeria wants to send me, the wonderfully considerate folks who want to help us start a social media marketing campaign, or even the notices that we’ve been selected as one of the top 100 businesses and all we need to do is send them $2,500… Truth be told, I’d have far too much fun replying to each of them but there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do all that and be responsible!

Seriously though, our responses send two messages; one being the actual words we use and the other being the level of value we place on the relationship we have with the individual we’re responding to. And guess what message we send when we don’t respond at all… In fact, the article I referenced before that showed all those stats about expected response times closed with this statement: “It is interesting to note that in no case did more than one person find it acceptable to have any type of message left unanswered for 48 hours.”

So what’s something we can all do, regardless of the words we use, to make sure at least one of the messages we’re sending shows that the person we’re communicating with is indeed important to us?

Over the last ten years or so, I’ve been involved with hiring no less than 1,000 people for various companies. In case you’re wondering, that’s required A LOT more than 1,000 interviews… Whether that was during times of high unemployment or low unemployment, I’ve been able to produce really solid results for each organization I’ve worked with. The one thing I attribute the bulk of that effectiveness to is that I’ve always been very intentional about reaching out to candidates who apply as quickly as I possibly can. One of the first challenges I hear brought up by peers who have responsibility for hiring is that their time is stretched so thin that they struggle to reach out to candidates quickly. While I do understand that, I highly doubt the highest caliber candidates care… If you snooze, you may just lose!

When it comes to sending a message that shows we value the person we’re responding to, be that a personal relationship or a business relationship, the best recommendation I can make is to be assertive in our communication! But don’t misunderstand that to mean aggressive… When we’re assertive with our responsiveness, we’re prompt. If we’re aggressive, we’re just rude!

As we move forward here, we’ll dial the focus in to look at why this matters so much in leadership and we’ll look at why choosing to not respond at all sends a louder message than most would ever do intentionally with words alone. Stay tuned…