While Youre Waiting

Not long ago, I made a partnership pitch, on behalf of an organization I represent, to another organization with similar interests. If the idea had come to fruition, it would have radically changed our organization.

So, you can imagine my impatience when I didn't hear back from the person to whom I'd made the proposal. She had welcomed the idea, but told me the decision would be made by a council within her organization.

Given the dynamics of an important decision about the future of their organization, I didn't expect a quick response. But, I would have liked at least an update advising me on the status of their considerations.

Then, I had a "Eureka," or maybe I should call it a "Whoops," moment. I realized I hadn't reported back to the people in my organization either. That made me guilty of the same lapse of communication as the lady in the other organization. With that recognition, I made amends by sending out an email to my organization, and followed up with a report at a meeting.

In taking an analytical view of this incident, I realized that nothing can be something when it comes to communication.

The idea that nothing can be something seems counter-intuitive. But remember the famous Sherlock Holmes observation about the dog that didn't bark; the fictitious detective solved a baffling case by noting what did not happen, rather than what did happen.

You can probably come up with several ideas about the importance of communicating even though nothing has changed. That's especially true if you're the one who didn't hear from someone else.

First, you may have made plans that assume either a change in or a continuation of the status quo. Perhaps you're holding off on holiday plans until the issue is resolved one way or the other.

Second, at least you know that an anticipated decision or event hasn't yet occurred, and that you didn't miss something (for example, as I write this I'm waiting for a client to confirm some information and it would be nice to know that I haven't missed a callback or an emailed reply).

Third, if you've received an update telling you nothing has happened, you don't need to contact that person and ask if there have been any developments. Similarly, you can advise the people who look to you for information.

One other note about the 'nothing can be something' idea: It's a variation on what I've called the Everybody Knows syndrome. That refers to a failure to communicate, based on the assumption that others know what I know.

In summary, it's a good idea to report regularly, even if nothing has happened, since others may not know you're still waiting as well.

About The Author

Robert F. Abbott writes and publishes Abbott's Communication Letter. If you subscribe, you will receive, at no charge, communication tips that help you lead or manage more effectively. You can get more information here: http://www.CommunicationNewsletter.com

[email protected]

In The News:

Peso rebounds on Brexit negotiations  BusinessWorld Online

Avoiding and Accomodating in Negotiation

The avoiding approach to negotiating is characterized by losing, leaving,... Read More

The Art of Haggling

Did you know that at one time in this country... Read More

30 Tips for Keeping Meeting Expenses to a Minimum

Money makes the world go 'round. And when it comes... Read More

The Art of Negotiation in 535 words

I want to get better at negotiation, but where to... Read More

So Whats Your Argument?

Arguments aren't always bad things. Sometimes They're used to convince... Read More

The Ultimate Truth in Persuasion

OK, so you want to improve your persuasion power right?Why?... Read More

What Are The Four Types Of Negotiating Outcomes?

Negotiating outcomes are the types of results that can happen... Read More

Managing the Sales Negotiation Process

How many times have you heard:"You've got to drop your... Read More

Cross Cultural Negotiations

Cross cultural negotiation is one of many specialized areas within... Read More

Do You Want a Paycheck or a Passion? 10 Qualities Managers are Looking for in Hiring You

Based upon my research of over 300 managers in the... Read More

The Most Powerful Persuasion Skill Youll Ever Learn

Criteria ElicitationThis is without a doubt the most important persuasion... Read More

Suppliers as Your Partners in Cost Reduction

This article is one of the many articles still to... Read More

Barter: Its Not Just for Doctors Anymore

Time was, in the country, the local "doc" was as... Read More

Games are a Reflection of Behavior

You are standing on a small stage yelling, "What's the... Read More

National and Cultural Negotiation Style

Cultural and national negotiation styles reflect communication behaviors and the... Read More

Lets Make a Deal

Smart buyers will always ask for a better price. Unfortunately,... Read More

Can a Service Be a Commodity

Well Enron dealt with this a little for instance an... Read More

Negotiating Skills: Ask For More Than You Expect To Get

It creates some negotiating room, and you might just get... Read More

Neogtiation: How to be Right Without Making Other People Wrong

What exactly are we trying to accomplish by proving to... Read More

Negotiate to Your Advantage

The hardest and most important part of any negotiation is... Read More

7 Tips for Bartering Products and Services

What better way to gain a new customer than by... Read More

Negotiate Like a P.R.O.

Whether you're negotiating a peace settlement in a war-torn country... Read More

Negotiation: A Compromising Position

Negotiating is a hot topic these days for a good... Read More

Just Ask!

Ask and you shall receive & knock and it shall... Read More

Managing Conflict, in Life & Work: Using Ancient and Modern Approaches

"Conflict" is a word that can have varying degrees of... Read More