In a vacuum, we make up stories. Because these stories are made up can be wildly fictional. And the stories we tell ourselves can also be far more negative than anyone else involved intends.
For example, when a member calls the association’s headquarters, leaves a message, and does not get a call back within 24 hours that member may start thinking:
- “My message got lost,” or
- “The person I left my message for must be busy,” or
- “The person I left my message for must be out of the office,” or
- “The person I left my message for does not care about me,” or
- “The person I left my message for must be incompetent,” or
- “They (the association staff) do not care about us (the members),” or
- “The association must not care much about customer service,” or
- “I must be inconsequential to them, so they are not responding,” or…
By not responding, we create a vacuum of information, so the member seeks to fill the void by making up a story. Most of these stories are not stories we would want attributed to us.
This one example illustrates what our members do every day and all the time, but this is not the only scenario. Imagine what happens when there is a disagreement or dispute, or when emotions are high, or when big decisions are at stake, or when members are mad. Members are busy making up stories when they do not know the answer.
Where are we creating little and big vacuums of information? Knowing our members’ propensity for making up stories to explain the lack of information what can we do to eliminate the void? Or can we acknowledge or explain the vacuum?