A failure to communicate and how to fix it

Posted on November 9, 2011


failure to communicate


It’s amazing how a failure to communicate can derail things. I’ve seen several examples over the past few weeks. The fixes are simple and it’s too bad that they didn’t happen.

The most telling example I’ve seen so far:

I’m part of a job search group. We share leads and encouragement. This is as good thing. However the execution leaves something to be desired.

I get, on average, 20 emails a day, from various group members. Their heart is in the right place, but frankly 99% of the emails are useless to me. The emails list jobs like warehouse worker, biochemical engineer, etc. None of which I am remotely qualified for.

One of the emails, which I actually read instead of just deleting it, mentionned a new Google Group that was set up. I thought this new group was to take the place of the 100’s of emails. No, the emails kept coming.

I dutifully emailed the group leaders, asking to be removed from the email list. I got prompt responses assuring me that this would be taken care of. A week later, I’m still getting inundated with emails. So I try emailing a different person. This time the response was along the lines of, “We’re experimenting with different ways of communicating with the group. Please bear with us.” Okay, but if I don’t want to receive emails, can’t you just take me off the list?

What would have worked better:

1. Give A LOT more thought to what you’re communicating to the group. Most people don’t want to receive 20 emails a day listing irrelevant jobs.

2. Clearly explain up front the purpose of the Google Group. Give people a chance to opt in or out of it.

3. If someone wants to opt out of the email blasts, DO IT!!!!!

What bad communication examples have you seen?

Photo is courtesy of Will Fryer’s Flickr PhotoStream, under Creative Commons Licensing.