Close the Loop…Please!


I get it. We’re all busy. Overworked. Often overwhelmed. And yet, that’s no excuse for being rude and leaving people hanging, blowing in the breeze unaware of what’s happening. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about.

I got a call from an old client asking if I still do a certain type of training. I said yes. She said she wanted to connect me with one of her clients who needed my services. The connection is made, several phone conversations take place, I line up the other people who work with me on this type of a project and we provide several available dates in the time frame he requested. Bear in mind three of us who work as independent contractors are holding 10 dates on our calendars. He indicated he should have confirmation for us in a week or so.

Two weeks passed and while we’re waiting for a decision one of us gets booked for one of the 10 dates we were holding. I let the new client know that one of the dates is no longer an option and ask when will we be able to lock it all down. He says he has a meeting with the powers that be and should know by the end of the week (this was Tuesday).

The end of the week comes and goes. More time passes and we now are getting very close to the dates we’re holding. If we wait much longer the preparation for the program will suffer. Due to the importance of the customization and preparation we do, my colleagues and I decide if we don’t have confirmation by a certain date we will have to push the program to the next month. This is politely communicated to the client and then NO response. Nothing. Nada. Zip. No “Thank you for holding the dates but I won’t be able to tell you by then” or “I’ll keep you posted” or “Thanks but no thanks.” It had been several weeks and still no reply.

Obviously we released the dates and moved on. Then two weeks later we heard from him telling us we might hear from him in a couple of months. The sad thing is this is not an isolated example of people not closing the communication loop. People are left hanging a lot. The result of this lack of communication causes resentment and puts up roadblocks to future interactions. This happens when coworkers don’t keep each other in the loop about important projects, or when managers don’t follow-up with employees or in any number of different situations.

Effective communication happens when the sender and the receiver have closed the loop with mutual understanding and respect. Has this happened to you? Tell me about your experiences and be sure you close all of your loops.