Frequent, meaningful communication builds respect, confidence, and trust. In an interview that appears in American Express’s blog, Open Forum, Guy Kawasaki asks Ori Brafman, one of the authors of Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior, why frequent contact between people seems to improve perceptions of each other. Brafman says:
We all like to have a voice and feel we’re taken seriously. Studies have shown that people are perceived as more reliable and effective when they communicate frequently. For example, entrepreneurs who keep in close touch with their VCs are perceived to be doing a better job. The frequent communication doesn’t mean sending out annoying emails or spam, but rather keeping people in the loop. “I just finished doing this and that. I’m going to start working on this project.” People love being included. It makes them feel important and it makes them feel like they’re part of the team. When we’re quiet, people assume—incorrectly many times—that we’re not staying on task and that we’re not being as productive and studious as we can be.
When there is a communication void, it is our natural tendency to fill that void with assumptions about what the other person is thinking and doing. We need to resist this temptation and, instead, communicate regularly and significantly with our bosses, direct reports, peers, and partners. We should keep them informed; not in a burdensome way but so that they feel respected and trusted.