A Silent Killer Of Professionalism

by Paul Castain on September 4, 2013

Do you remember that goofy test to see if you follow instructions?

It starts off with a clear warning to read all the instructions before beginning.

Then it has you doing a series of things like “stand up” “go to the door and knock 3 times” “march in place” then you get to the final item that reads “do none of these things, just hand in this paper”.

I think we desperately need this test more so today because most of us absolutely suck at paying attention to details, instructions and just paying attention in general.

Before you deny it, let me offer a few examples.

Have you ever received an email response from someone asking you an unnecessary  question  because the answer was in the previous email they obviously didn’t read thoroughly?

Did you ever catch yourself about to send one of those yourself? Or maybe you didn’t catch yourself?

Doesn’t exactly make you look like someone who pays attention to details, does it?

Doesn’t exactly give one a great deal of faith in your ability to listen and comprehend what’s being said let alone, be their advocate when it comes to catching something that could hurt them.

I went back a reread a message where someone told me that the afternoon on either Wednesday or Thursday would work for them to catch up with a phone chat. Being the rocket scientist that I am, I respond with “Sure, how’s 9:15 or 10:45 for you?”

You don’t know this, but I was hanging my head feeling like a dumb ass sharing that with you but . . .

It also wastes time, no?

By the way, I see this all the time and it appears to be getting worse.

I see it on LinkedIn discussions when people don’t read the questions in group discussions thoroughly (admittedly, being the human that I am, I’ve done this too)

Speaking of LinkedIn, one of my group moderators put up a note saying that one member’s comment was deleted because it violated our “no self promotion” policy. The moderator was specific and even used the person’s name who we shall call “Johann” “Matilda” then responds with a “Hope that wasn’t me, if it was, I apologize”

I can’t fault “Matilda” for doing this because maybe her maiden name was “Johann” but most people would look at “Matilda’s” comment and shake their head. That isn’t an isolated incident, by the way, I see similar exchanges all the time in numerous groups.

I put up a post in our Facebook Sales Playbook community about the branded thank you cards I use. I offered to send one to anyone who emailed their street address to me and I even gave them my business email to send it to.

Guess what happened next?

I get a bunch of people responding with their email address right on the Facebook page.

So how the hell do you send a hard copy, handwritten card to an email address?

But wait . . . there’s more!

I go back into the discussion thread and remind everyone that it’s a handwritten card that needs to be sent through snail mail.

Do you think anyone read the additional instructions?


So here’ the point . . .

You and I send and receive lots of messages each day.

We are surrounded with lot’s of “noise” and distractions so . . .

We scan things and communicate on the fly and . . .

We probably multitask while communicating.

In the process, we’re missing details and in many cases disconnecting with people because they’ve caught us!

Perhaps we should slow down and fight our urge to reply instantly.

Perhaps we should give the sender of the message our undivided attention?

And perhaps we need to communicate more clearly as the sender of these messages knowing that the average person will most probably miss important pieces to the message.

Please weigh in with your thoughts . . .

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