Communication in the Workplace: Quality versus Quantity

Sam Carpenter



In 1984, Sam founded Centratel, the number one commercial telephone answering service in the nation, located in Bend, Ore. With a background in engineering and publishing, he is a telephone answering service industry consultant, writer and speaker, and has served as president of several regional and national answering service organizations.

Sam is author of the book Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less, published by North Sister Publishing, Inc. in April 2008. He also founded and directs Kashmir Family Aid, a 501C3 non-profit that aids surviving school children of the Northern Pakistan and Azad Kashmir earthquake of October 8, 2005.

Originally from upstate New York, and an Oregonian since 1975, he is married to Linda Carpenter. He has a daughter and two grandchildren. He and Linda are also in the process of launching an Internet business that promotes communication between absent adults and their children and grand children. Outside interests include climbing/mountaineering, skiing, cycling, reading, traveling and writing.

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“The quality of your communication equals the quality of your life”
–          Anthony Robbins

The sense I have developed over the years is that quantity of communication is more important than quality of communication. Of course, this refers to sensible discourse between two parties. It is no good if one spews unlimited information while ignoring the other side, or if the content is inane.

Quantity of communication connects to any success or failure. Is someone talking and someone else listening? Or, is there silence? Simply looking at world affairs confirms that between nations, the degree of cooperation is in direct proportion to the amount of two-way communication occurring. Paranoia ensues if exchange is limited. 

It’s the same in a marriage or a workplace relationship. More communication leads to better efficiency, stronger cooperation, and deeper trust. Between two people—or between two nations—if silence reigns, problems will arise in the relationship, or there will be no relationship at all. 

If lots of communication occurs, the quality will take care of itself. For instance, sometimes I am at a loss for agenda topics for our weekly staff meetings because our regular communication is so thorough. Nevertheless, we have our Monday morning meetings even if we just chat about an impending marriage or someone’s camping trip. It keeps us in touch and we feel like a team. We laugh, and that alone is worth it. We keep the meeting short, though. We have work to do.

A caveat (there’s always a caveat…) to the idea that quantity trumps quality: communication with oneself—one’s own personal self-talk. Here, excessive internal communication is a problem, especially in Western culture. We examine, re-examine, dissect, and massage our personal thoughts, endlessly wondering, what is the problem? Is he (or she) angry with me? Did I say something wrong? Did I do enough? Do I need medication? Am I a good person? Arrgh! We could do well to act more and self-ruminate less.

– Telecommunications expert Sam Carpenter is a veteran entrepreneur, author, and small business guru. For more on his recent book, Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Working Less and Making More, see www.workthesystem.com.

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