There use to be a time when it was okay not to check your email but once a day and depending on the industry you work in, communication demand is still a concept that’s foreign. Communication demand is a metric I developed to measure an industries expected demand on an individual’s communication efforts. For example, if you’re in sales, then your communication demand is typically much higher than someone that works on the floor of a manufacturing organization. Communication demand highlights expectations when it comes to communication whether it’s internal or external.
In my personal and professional development, I found more success setting my communication demand higher than the average individual working in my industry (marketing). Traditionally, marketers already have high communication demand because of this notion that all marketers must be constantly connected. This is true for me. I am constantly connected whether it’s by email, social media, or voice. If I where to analyze my response rate with any communication message directed to me then I would say my average response rate is less than an hour. Why do I do this? Because I found success and a welcomed response when I’m quick to respond.
One of the largest challenges with communication demand is once you set the expectation; you must be prepared to honor it. One of my personal pet peeves is someone that sits on an email with a question attached and doesn’t respond until the next day. Even if you don’t have the answer, respond with “I understand your question, please give me until tomorrow to get all the facts.” Please don’t think I’m asking everyone to be always connected and respond immediately to every request. I’m simply requesting you to analyze your communication demand and set those expectations within your own organization and with external clients or individuals. If your communication demand is 24 hours or one business day, set those expectations. You can even add it to your email signature.
Lastly, understand that you can’t always hide from your communication habits. I use a Gmail plugin called Sidekick. With every email I send, I get an alert once the recipient opens the email. If you opened my email and don’t respond within a reasonable time and you had set expectations of your communication demand then I will think something is wrong or that you find my communication of little importance. There are many other application out there that’s similar to Sidekick so don’t think you can just tell the person you missed their message. We know.
I’m constantly developing and redeveloping the concepts associated to communication demand. My hope is for you to evaluate your communication commitment to others and understand how it makes others feel towards working with you. Once you understand then you will be far more productive moving forward.