The Long and Winding Road : 2 ways we understand Silence…

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2 ways we understand Silence…

They say, ‘Silence can’t be misquoted’.. true enough but it can be misunderstood and often is. There is an inherent problem in being able to communicate with people so easily, that problem is that we can communicate with people so easily!

If we had to write a letter every time we wished to share our insight and brilliance, we would scarcely write a thing because the effort involved and the level of reflection required to respond often causes us to decide to abandon our task.

It is true that if it was proved that ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ we would still see people not eating apples. Why is this? It is because eating the apple still requires effort!

Social media , in its most basic form, does not require effort as such , it requires motivation to respond or desire to be heard.

Recently , I have been asked to provide information for people , via e-mail, so they can consider the next move. It will not surprise you to hear that not one single person has responded to the information they requested, not even a simple ‘I got your stuff, will get back to you’ type response.

Their silence could be interpreted as being ‘ plain rude’ or ‘plain lazy’ or perhaps ‘ no news is good news’. The trouble is this, when you ask a question of someone and they go to the effort of responding promptly , one should at the very least expect a response in a similar timely fashion.

Do they think they are better than me? Is their time more valuable than mine? Have they the skills to be honest and tell me that they can’t follow through on their initial idea? Just what is going on?

This happens, I think, because we default to communicating in emotionally biased ways via social media and less and less in more formal ways. This shift in how we talk is leading to many wasted conversations and fruitless social media conversations with an unrealistic expectation of results from one of the parties involved. Too many people blurt out what is one their mind and then struggle to admit they were just ‘thinking out loud’. If people are honest they expect social media to deliver business results in the form of revenue at some point in the conversation. Engagement and general distribution of information is also taking place, many a friendship has been developed on the social platforms but all too often the act of doing business is being missed. Many will say that social media is just a ‘calling card’ and an ‘icebreaker’ but looking at social media spending by companies I fear too many companies are expecting social media to be something it might not be designed to be.

It’s that unrealistic expectation thing again!

If you are going to have a conversation on social media…… finish it;

If you are going to do business on social media……………. finish it;

If you are going to blur the lines between engagement and business……. don’t!

All these tools we use are vehicles to get somewhere, what you do and what you say revolves around the content and context of your message therefore you must be measured and considered in how many people and to whom you speak.

Failure to think strategically about how you use social media will ensure failure,not only in social media but also in the business which is attempted via social media.

Silence is a great thing, there should be more of it but being silent at times when the door is open to converse makes little sense and leaves a bad taste in the mouth of those waiting to hang on your every utterance.

The secret is in the timing in all things, it’s not what you do it’s when you do it….

see you on the long and winding road….. Patrick

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