Much of our interactions with others occurs via texts, Facebook, email, phone calls, and sometimes in person. It can be very asynchronous. I personally don’t mind it. Some people prefer to engage in the communication and resolve the item immediately to some closure.
Either way, with this new pace there are some things we should consider before sending that text, email or Wall Post on Facebook.
By the way, a great book on communication (in general). Crucial Conversations.
1. Stop forwarding emails with no context. We have all received the email with the long winded diatribe about why conservatives are smarter than liberals or why Bush lied. Aside from the annoying political slant of the content, you need to at least forward with comment (“I found this funny… enjoy.” or “what a crock… be appalled with me on this…”). In a business setting, when you forward me something at least tell me what you want me to do with this. It isn’t always obvious.
Even worse are those urban legend emails about winning a trip to Disney if you forward to 100 people. This crap has been around since AOL was the king online service. Stop it already. Before you forward this crap, get some info on the topic from Snopes.com.
2. Proper “Reply” vs “Reply to All”. If you receive an email that was addressed to all parties and your response will benefit the group, reply to all. If your response won’t be appreciated by the group or sensitive in some way, then by all means reply to the sender. I don’t know how many times trying to figure out a date or time for the group when everyone starts replying to individuals and the conversation gets way off course.
3. Facebook Wall Posts vs Messaging. I don’t know what people are thinking sometimes. I often see a Facebook wall post with somewhat personal information/questions that are way better suited in a more private setting. Everyone can see the wall post! Send those private things through messaging.
4. The Voicemail that says “hey its me, call me”. It makes more sense to actually leave a message about the subject you want to discuss. Open ended “call me” is my signal to call back whenever. I do this a lot. I call back much later than the originator expected. “why didn’t you call me yesterday?” …”cuz you didn’t say to…”
5. Avoid all of the above while drinking. I think this is self explanatory. We don’t want to put ourselves in any situation where the NFL has to investigate texted pictures or voicemail from a mistress. Loose lips sink ships.
6. DO NOT BCC !!!!!. The dreaded Blind Carbon Copy. If the BCC victim ever finds out, that person is pissed. Or worse yet, someone forwards an email that was BCC’d and the victim eventually sees it. Bad Times.
7. Stop attaching funny videos. This is what YouTube is for. Just put the link in the email. For crying out loud, this is 2011.
8. Proper use of “lose” vs. “loose”, “too, to, two”, and I see this one a ton. “with all intensive purposes.” It is “intents and purpose”.
Tone: It is important to convey your message properly. Sometimes the tone gets misinterpreted. Short and abrupt messages can come off as bitchy or rude. I personally assume nobody is trying to be rude because putting rude comments into writing can be professionally limiting. But I have witnessed occasion where people thought it was rude.