Assumptions of Time

Assumptions of Time

This content was originally featured in the June 26th, 2024 newsletter found here: INBOX INSIGHTS, JUNE 26, 2024: ASSUMPTIONS OF TIME, GOLD STANDARD OF ATTRIBUTION

I wrote about making assumptions about people’s time on LinkedIn the other day. Given the responses, I think it’s worth bringing up again. Here is the original post:

Don’t use the excuse of assuming someone is “too busy” to not loop them in.

From your side, you might think you’re “protecting” their time or their calendar. Your intentions are good, but they aren’t helpful.

The person who is being told that they are “too busy” is hearing, “we don’t think you care enough to prioritize this, so we didn’t bother.”

Miscommunication is easy. Good communication is hard. Trust is even harder.

I’ve told my team over and over, “you’re not bothering me. If I can’t do something, I’ll let you know.” But it doesn’t always stick.

We’re all dealing with some kind of trauma from being lied to, being misled, being gaslit. It’s hard on both sides. When I’m told that it was assumed I’m too busy to be looped in, my default is that I’m not trying hard enough.

The best way forward is to be direct. Try to take what someone is saying at face value. Acknowledge that building trust is an imperfect process. To build trust, you’ve got to give people a chance. Otherwise, you won’t break the cycle.

I would also add that starting an ask with “I’m sorry to bother you” begins the interaction on the wrong foot for both parties.

A better option is, “I have a few things to ask/cover with you. Is this a good time?” Instead of “being a bother” you’re allowing the other person to choose for themselves.

It’s important to highlight where communication will break down. Especially as technology makes it easier and easier for us to disconnect from each other. In this example, you’re taking choices away from the person you’re protecting. You’re not giving them the option to say if they can or cannot participate. You’ve already told them they aren’t participating. Instead of being helpful, it can be hurtful. The more this happens, the more the person who is “busy” gets excluded from important things. It can create the illusion that the “busy” person doesn’t try to prioritize well.

We can’t know what’s going on with someone else at all times. What they think is important and what you tell them is important to them are different things. As it is, we have texts, emails, chats, social media, and a bunch of other technology that keeps us from interacting with each other. It means that when we have to try harder to have good communication, to build trust with each other.

How good is your communication with your team? Reach out and tell me, or come join the conversation in our Free Slack Group, Analytics for Marketers.

– Katie Robbert, CEO

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