“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
One of the traps I find myself fighting hard to keep from falling into – over and over – is allowing the urgent to push aside the important. Nowhere is this more difficult to counteract (for me) than the inbox.
Responding immediately to one email that you know is going to occupy your thoughts until you triage it isn’t going to keep you from doing the important work of your day, but responding to 20 or 30 or 50 of them most certainly will.
So while it’s great advice to always immediately answer any email you can attend to in less than 90 seconds, that “immediately” needs definition. It shouldn’t be defined as immediately upon arrival. You shouldn’t be checking email constantly. It should be immediately upon you getting to that point in your day when you’re batching through your inbox. (And then not visiting it again for 2 hours – or more if you can.)
What’s all of this have to do with digital marketing? Or with Mr. Shaw’s contention that communications doesn’t occur nearly as often as we think it does? Well, let me tell you …
Haste Makes Miscommunication
These two ideas come together when, in your haste to get to “inbox zero,” you fail to respond to an email with your information and the recipient’s perspective. He or she doesn’t know you’re in a rush and that your terseness isn’t a sign of annoyance.
Marketing Depends on Answering the Right Questions
And while I see this most frequently in email communication, and realize I’m guilty of it from time to time, it creeps into other marketing channels, as well. The question to ask is, do I really understand the question my audience is asking, and am I answering it.
Yes, there are other layers that matter – being human and authentic, shelving the hard sell – but ultimately communication only ever happens if we pause to listen, reflect on what we’ve heard, and respond thoughtfully.
That’s also the only way marketing works.
(You’ll notice that the quote at the head of this article is not attributed. You can Google it to find out who said it. And you can subscribe to our email newsletter to find out why the answer you found is wrong.)