On Professional Communications

In these days of always-on always-available communication, it's more important than ever to be clear in your communications so that you're not wasting people's time. As I see it (and that's really the only opinion that matters), Instant Messenger and Texting have each allowed lazy people (and/or morons) to waste my time more effectively.

In my opinion, IM and SMS have been huge contributors in lazy communications due to their immediacy and the casual attitude associated with their use. If you're at work, try to be professional. Sure, they facilitate communications, and they're often used for informal communications, but there's no reason that you should be unclear. Being unclear is ineffective and wasteful.

The only things that I desire from communications is to communicate effectively. Seems like circular reasoning, doesn't it. I assure you that it isn't. For many people with which I interact in a given day it seems that they just don't get that. When people reach out to me, they usually need my help.

As one who's job it is to help people, here's a hint:
Help me to help you!

The single easiest way to do this is to communicate clearly. Fix bad spelling. Use punctuation. Attempt to use context. Be descriptive. Before sending, read what you've typed and correct anything that's wrong.

No, the occasional numeral 0 instead of the letter 'o' won't bother me, but runningwordstogether or gorsslee misspelling words isn't helpful neither is having multiple clauses or sentences without punctuation or capitalization dusnt make it EESEEER 4 me 2 REED!!1!! LOLZ

Abusing my time and brainpower in these ways will make me hate you more.

Really, if you must interrupt what I was trying to accomplish, don't waste my time and energy trying to figure out what you want. Before you came by, I was probably happily getting my own work done. Yes, you're an interruption; I hope what you want is important.

Sure, the eventual emoticon (smiley) or a or tag can certainly help tell me that you're being sarcastic or attempting a joke. Please keep them to a minimum.


Once I've gotten the gist of what you're asking for, I'm probably going to have follow-up questions for you. This is never a time to get pissy because you 'just want him to fix it, damnit. Gosh!' Chances are, you don't really know what you're talking about, but if you do, I likely don't know everything about your system. (This is actually true; the more you know about your system means that I consequently need to know less about it. Unless of course we're actually peers in this subject, in which case this post probably isn't for you; you probably already know how to communicate effectively with me.)

Now is not the time to get snide, snotty or sarcastic. Now is the time to be more helpful. Remember that you asked me for help; I was happy without your interruption. Asking questions means that I am going to try to help you, but I don't yet have all the information that I need to do so effectively. Sure, I may be able to discover the answers myself, but you providing useful answers saves my valuable time.

If I present follow-up responses, being questions, suggestions or recommendations, it is never, EVER acceptable to respond to me with only punctuation. Today, a particular individual customer (I'm refraining from calling him a jackass, but that's what I'm thinking) responded to my four response statements with a single question mark.

Yes, he typed "?" and sent that to me.

In no way was that an acceptable response. The only intelligent conclusion that I can draw from a response like that is either that is a floating leftover punctuation left over from the dozens that had been ignored thus far in the conversation, or that he typed an entire intelligible question but his keyboard's keys have all stuck except for Shift, the question mark, and Enter. (They are right next to each other. The Right Control probably works, too....) So, he's still guilty of not checking what he typed before sending. This tells me that you don't value me or my time. So I hate you more...


This is all exacerbated by the fact that I need SMS for my job in order to receive pages, and at my last two jobs are required that I stay logged into IM while at work. Any person who happens to come across or guess my cell number or look up my ID at work can now waste my time, 'round the clock! It's these types of interactions that make me firmly believe that IM is a wonderful technology for facilitating the interruption and distraction of otherwise productive people.

Additionally, communicating effectively means that I don't need to post another rant and spreading vitriol.


No comments:

Post a Comment