It’s that time of year again when dodging potholes becomes a sport here in Indy – another aspect of ‘March Madness.’  In my little Mini Cooper hitting a pothole really shakes me up!

Hitting a communication ‘pothole’ can also shake a person up.  Potholes are voids begging to be filled, on the road and in communication.   Have you experienced someone not returning your call, dropping the ball with a request, or second-hand unverified rumors? You are left void of information or, worse, filled with bad information.

In the void of good communication, what do you fill that ‘pothole’ with?

  • Do you assume it is about you?  That somehow you aren’t worthy?

Alice thought her proposal for work was accepted; dates were even discussed. Although, when she tried to confirm she received no response.  Because of the this she assumed the project wasn’t going to happen. In the end, she learned her client thought they were confirmed. He had less of a need for communication.

  • Do you assume the worst?

Alex’s boss requested an appointment.  Feeling a little insecure about some recent challenges his mind went to thinking he’d lose his job.  In the end, his boss just wanted to talk strategy and share some other very valuable information.

  • Do rumors fill you with shaky information?

Andy’s colleague was fired.  Rumors were flying that there was a wide sweeping house cleaning because profits were down.  The truth was the colleague was fired because of misuse of company money. Tricky, HR cannot share the information. There is always a backstory you aren’t likely to know.  

The astute communicator practices ‘pothole’ prevention by:

  •  Learning people’s preferences for communication

There are so many different channels for communication.  Ask what is preferred and when you should expect to hear from him or her.

  • Assume the best

In my work I often know the ‘backstories’.  I am astounded at what gets filled in the absence of information. More often than not, second-hand information is wrong.

Wishing you smooth communication and strong rims!  Karen