Posts Tagged 'communication'

The Bloom Is Off The Rose

Every relationship has its bumpy patches, and we’ve reached that time with our contractors.

I spend a good part of MY professional life managing my clients’ expectations and keeping them informed about matters of interest to them. I am good at that aspect of my work. I expect the same when I am on the client end of a relationship.

The renovation relationship started off with excellent communication, whether by phone or email or face-to-face conversations. Ever since the cabinets were installed (the last of the large payment checks, I might add), communication has been minimal to non-existent. I have had to initiate every conversation about what was happening and what would happen. To be fair, not much was happening after the counter templates were made. I heard that there was a delay but then for 2 weeks there was no word at all. I am the one who reached out after 2 weeks to ask for an update and lo-and-behold- they’d “just heard that day”. Maybe, maybe not. Forgive my skepticism but in light of subsequent behavior, I’m not as convinced about that timing as I might have been.

I’ve told you of our trip to see our slab, and about the soffits and crown molding. The QUARTZ people are the ones who mentioned to us that they would be installing on Tuesday. I heard nothing from the contractors who are, by nature of our contract, supposed to be arranging all of these things. Today, Tuesday, I finally wrote to them to ask if indeed the counter would be arriving. I got an email that said they would check. We’re paying them to be managing this, it’s NOT supposed to be my job to manage the people with whom they have contracted. The counters arrived before any email.

I thought about it long and hard and then drafted an email. I said we are now in week 14 of a projected 10-12 week project. I am not upset about that, I wrote. I AM upset with the lack of communication and any notion of a schedule. I wrote that I understand that schedules are fluid and some things cannot be controlled. But I want a projected schedule of all the things that still have to be done. I have no idea if I’m looking at another 2 weeks, 3 weeks, a month, longer. There is a lot that still needs doing.

I got a reply this afternoon, which I consider a good response time. (Again – I do this all the time myself as a professional. I know what is involved in forming a response.) My first reaction was a “pffffft” as he addressed the delay. The delay, while not desired, is not the problem – I NEVER expected this to take only 10-12 weeks. I’m still absorbing his comments about the communication, which are focused on this morning. I’ve been feeling uninformed for several weeks now. I’m hoping that when I get the promised update of what is to come, it will cover all the gaps that I feel exist.

My counters are beautiful and I will share them with you tomorrow. Today is working through a bit of disappointment.

I See You

I am fascinated by what our avatars say about ourselves in SL. I only wish I understood all the messages. šŸ™‚ I tend to form opinions of people in SL based on their avatars. As someone said in a comment on my blog earlier – we CHOOSE how we look in SL, so there is more basis for taking the appearance as a key. And sometimes that opinion is born out by the words in the chat box and sometimes the chat leads to a modified opinion. But our words, unaccompanied by pictures, paint a picture of ourselves as well.

At work I had occasion to research a business topic. I didn’t know much about the subject. Actually, that’s being overly-generous. I knew almost nothing about the topic. But our company provides forums wherein we can all ask questions and get information from our coworkers. So I began reading the related forum. I’d had such success in the virtual worlds forum that I hoped this one would work out as well.

At first, most everything I read was a mystery to me. But as I continued to read each thread, I came to recognize certain of the posters. Each one began to have a distinct “voice”. I began to understand more and more of what I read. Finally, however, I had reached the point where I needed more information. My coworkers in my office couldn’t help me since they didn’t know the topic either. I was going to have to reach out to someone in the forum and ask for help.

How do you decide which stranger to approach? In our social network this decision is simplified because we post pictures, games, information about ourselves and our jobs. But in a forum all you have are the words. Words have both denotations and connotations. The connotations make the words resonate for the reader. Grammar and punctuation do the same. The writer’s attitude is conveyed by these things.

Over at least two forums I have contacted 4 “strangers”. Three of these people I contacted because I had questions and needed advice. I trusted that if I reached out, they would respond. Not only did they respond but all 3 responded quickly, warmly and with an invitation to contact them again should I need more assistance. I’ve take 2 of them up on that invitation and each question I send is answered in a reasonable time frame and fully and with the same invitation to feel free to write again.

The 4th correspondent was someone that I had considered but skipped when I was seeking information in my position of total new-comer. Something in the posts from that person – perhaps the tone of the sentences or the argumentative nature – had made me feel this person would not take kindly to requests for information. Then there was a post and an issue and I needed to contact this person directly. My instincts were confirmed. I did ultimately get a reply, but it took 3 days. The reply was incomplete and did not actually answer my question. I have had to write to this individual 2 more times. Each time the reply is days in coming and always abrupt. There are no extra words of information wrapped around the core. There is no warmth. There is no acknowledgment that the way of the world is that those who have the information need to teach the new-comers. The posts in the forum were the truth about the person.

I come to know you by your words. I see you even if there is no picture there.

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