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Are You Connecting More Now But Enjoying Life Less?
by Barbara Garro

Constant communication of all stripes creates chaos, especially when demands for your response come at you at the same time.

21st Century instant gratification attitudes have more people messaging you, expecting to have you meet their needs than you can fit into your day and still meet your day's agenda and those of others already scheduled.

Instant gratification attitudes also come with expectations of instant answers you've had little or no time to think through. This can trap you into trouble down the road as you may already have discovered.

Will Rogers said, It’s not what we don't know that hurts us–it’s what we know that just ain’t so.”

A mantram, “I just don't have the time” too often leads business people to speak as fools at least some of the time. Consider asking yourself these six questions when others look for a response from you:

• What am I talking about?

• Who is involved?

• Where is it?

• When is it?

• Why is it?

• How do I do it?

Your outside real time communication in emails, texts and voice messages gives you the luxury of thinking responses through beforehand. Trust me. Grounding yourself with these six questions will save you big-time down the road.

Next, ask yourself these three questions about your planned response:

➢ Will it reinforce or explain my objective?

➢ Will it relate well to this particular receiver?

➢ Will it correspond with my style?

Bottom line: Think before you blurt out your first thought. Consider what you want, what your receiver wants. Big issue: Can your receiver give you what you want?

Getting to your best response makes you work to give each communication the attention it deserves. You may not care as much about where you have a dinner meeting, but you need to care that the benefits of this dinner meeting deserve the gift of your evening after working all day.

John F. Kennedy once said, The greatest enemy of the truth is very often not the lie–deliberate, contrived and dishonest–but the myth-persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.

Do give thought to the cautions of James R. Lucas in Fatal Illusions, Shredding a Dozen Unrealities That Can Keep Your Organization from Success:

• The Vision Illusion–Having a Mission Statement Means We Know Who We are

• The Priorities Illusion–Of Course Our People Understand What's Important

• The Quality Illusion–Everybody Knows What Quality Is

• The Expectations Illusion – We Know What to Expect of Those People

• The Change Illusion–We’ll Get to That Later

• The Consequences Illusion–I Think We Can Get Away with That

• The Comparisons Illusion – We’re Doing Better Than …

• The People Illusion–Good People Can Be Successful in Jobs They Don't Like

• The Openness Illusion–We Can Run This Thing without Sharing That Information

• The Incentives Illusion–In This Economy, They Should Be Happy to Have a Job

• The Cooperation Illusion – Just Give People a Chance and They'll Work Together

• The Passion Illusion–We Don't Need Passion if We have a Good Plan

Watch out also you don't trap yourself believing your memory is a steel trap so strongly you avoid committing to making good notes as soon as possible after communications:

Do you believe your every experience is somewhere in your memory?

Do you believe you can pull information out of your memory whenever you want?

Do you believe, with a little work, information you need will come to you?

Do you believe you have learned enough memory tips and tricks to cover you at all times?

Ever wonder why so many fool themselves with their pet illusions. Here’s the Garro Theory:

1. Postpones investing now time in action

2. Instant problem pain killer

3. Keeps people from making changes outside their comfort zones

4. Allows people to avoid dealing with their responsibilities

5. Gives people a false sense of control

6. Rocks no boats

7. Enables people to ignore making decisions to deal with dysfunction

All of the above quotes, questions and cautions work to keep you focused as long as you are without a negative emotional charge, like anger, from a message you receive. You need to process the anger before you go forward with your response. Ask yourself these four questions:

1. Do I fear something?

2. Am I feeling judged?

3. Do I feel insecure?

4. Is control an issue here?

The goal when you respond is to be perceived as patient, poised and positive, rather than anxious, antsy or antagonistic.

Here’s a Garro Limits & Boundaries Bottom Line: Keeping Control of Your Time & Your Life Demands 24/7 Self-Discipline.

An example: While researching to write this article on my porch, I went into the office to get another file and found this telephone message: “This is Susan from ‘Celex’ and I need to speak with you. Please call me at (left number),” repeating it twice. By corporate policy, I always return calls and left this message: “This is Barbara Garro of Electric Envisions, Inc., 518-587-9999. I know nothing about your company. If I am not here when you call again, please tell me what ‘Celex’ does and the purpose of your contact. If I get a new message from Susan at ‘Celex’ with just a telephone number, you give me no incentive to return your call.”

You can see from that example, part of my self-discipline demands I take charge of when I am available to others and when I am giving my full attention to a project. Unless you figure out some way to give yourself break time from constant messages and other interruptions, you might as well be a slave rowing a ship feeling the whip if you stop.

­Have questions on how to tame your constant communication chaos? Give me a call, 518-587-9999.