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Champion Leadership Blog

Too Much Workplace Communication Lacks Specificity, Pt. 2

Here’s Scenario #2 of business professionals lacking specificity in communication.

Three times in three different contexts last week Communication Sin #1 came up in 7sinwhitepapercoverconversations with clients.

(A Lack of Specificity is one of The 7 Deadliest Communication Sins if you’d like to learn more download the free report at

Scenario #2:

A woman, a project manager, in my Communication Power for Leaders live, virtual training program, was frustrated with a stakeholder not responding to her outreach.

She scheduled a private coaching session to ask me for help.

For more than a month she had been reaching out asking this stakeholder for a reply to address specific issues impacting the outcome of the project.

During our conversation I learned, and she realized, that not once in her correspondence has she requested a reply by a certain date.

All her requests were left open ended. She assumed this stakeholder would pay attention and put a response on top of their priority list.

Big mistake.

More importantly, though, typically, just asking for a response by a certain date isn’t enough.

There is something else, even more important, that must be included in the request.

You must include a reason to reply that speaks to something important to the individual from that individual’s perspective.

This is called their WII-FM (the “What’s In It For Them”).

This is a context of communication too often ignored.

People think, “they should just to do what I’m requesting because it’s important to this project.”

While that is true, in today’s work environment, there are just too many competing priorities.

For that reason you need to raise the likelihood your request will rise to the top.

Next time I’ll share last week’s third communication scenario that lacked specificity and caused problems in organizations and between individuals.

What examples do you have where A Lack of Specificity negatively impacted your effectiveness, individually or as part of a team or company? Leave a comment below.

Next time I’ll share another of last week’s communication mistakes that lacked specificity and caused problems in organizations and between individuals.

’til next time, Communicate with Power,

skip-weisman-professional speaker-small business championship coach

There are 3 comments. Add yours.

  1. A. K. M. Suzaur Rahman

    The problem is that we just use to write something or reply without any purpose, focus, agenda or outcome/result in mind. We don’t ask ourselves why we should write this to ……. OR why I should reply OR what would be the impact/benefit of answering or providing reply. So, you see practically we human being are dominantly more mechanical, routine, formal than analytical, intellectual, thinker.

  2. We seem to send these type of request with ‘information’ expecting to promote ‘communication’ and when it doesn’t happen we wonder why. Email is not setup or meant to be used as a communications tool. I think your line of thought is spot on. “Get it to me when you can” means exactly that to the higher number of people so timeline will differ.

    What works for me? Well, I’m always considering what others may have on their plate. Thus, I will propose a date (never my drop dead date) in hopes that they will respond favorably to my request as I am being mindful of their schedule. I will also ask them for a date not to exceed xyz (still not my drop dead date).

    Lastly, if it is critical based on my need for a fast turnaround (my drop dead date is in jeopardy) then I am looking to make verbal (phone) or face to face contact to talk though what I need, why and to get their commitment to deliver. If they are a remote stakeholder then video chat will work as well.

    I’ve found that it is hard for people to ignore you when you are face to face.


    • Skip Weisman

      Thanks for your comments and suggestions. You are absolutely correct that it is much harder for people ignore or avoid if face to face or even on a phone conversation. Sending an email into the ether world you just never know what’s going to happen. Thanks for being inspired to leave a comment here. Please come back and do so again.

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