Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

3rd Time’s a Charm—The Power Behind Active Delay

Originally posted in 2007…Posted again in 2010…Six years later, still a simple, meaningful, and powerful tidbit.

———-2010 Post: Active Delay Revisited

Once and a while, I’m reminded of a past blog entry because of its acute applicability in the here and now. This one is from the Summer of 2007. I’m reminded of it because of the increased volume of emails that we’re all receiving on a daily basis, that generate action on our parts. Following the advice in this entry may help you maintain a reputation of dependability, even while you find yourself falling behind. So, here you go, posted in July, 2007, and again for you, today . . .

———-2007 Post:Active Delay

Interestingly, in just the past few days, several people have mentioned to me that they’re frustrated with people not returning their calls and/or emails promptly. Perhaps it’s the season. Summer in the northeast—being so short—tends to slow things down a bit. I’m one of those people who, short of an email or voice mail falling through the cracks, will call you back even if I don’t have anything to tell you. Which leads me to what I want to share with you today.

Perhaps you’re not prepared to return an email because you’ve not had an opportunity to complete what’s been asked of you. Or you’re not quite sure of the answer you want to provide to a question asked. Or maybe you’re simply swamped with higher priorities. —All of which understandably may cause a delay in your responding.

Why not offer an active delay? A quick voice mail or a one-line email (or text) acknowledging the other person’s outreach and your intention to respond as soon as you’re able, or prepared to, is a powerful piece of communication.

Promptly returned messages offer us an immediate opportunity to service our clients, colleagues, and internal and/or external customers. It says: I hear you, and you matter. And everyone wants to be heard and to matter.

So when you find yourself setting aside an email or message because your ability to fully respond may be delayed, why not offer an active delay? Even in the midst of high demands, you can be building trust in your reliability.


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