Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Dump the email: Pick up the phone or meet in person

Up until a few weeks ago, I thought that the nicest, most polite, and best way to get an answer was to use email. It's like writing a letter except the letter makes it there nearly instantly. What's not to like?

Email is the best
The ease of typing and editing provided by a word processor allows for one to carefully craft their piece to get a message across as best as possible. And its electronic nature makes them easy to archive, read anywhere, and reference. Forgot what you talked about? You can just bring that email up and look over the exact words exchanged between the two of you. Feeling bored? Bring up an old chain and entertain yourself with something fun or interesting spoken of years ago.

No one cares
Unfortunately, the number of people who seem to care about all of these advantages is rather small. And it's getting even smaller because I'm now one of those people who just don't care anymore.

For the longest time, I tried to be polite and sent an email out whenever I needed information or work done. The idea was that it gave someone a reference to see exactly what I wanted, and it gave them the freedom to respond at their leisure. The phone and talking to someone in person seemed so imposing. I've always thought of it as impolite, demanding, and forward. You want it right away?

Bla bla bla, email etiquette is usually lacking in the professional and personal environment. Whatever -- it's been talked about to death. The cliff notes are that I don't get good responses from emails and when I do, the responses can have little to do with what I asked.

Just do it: Talk to the person
After giving up and not caring anymore about what anyone thinks, I've started to just go visit the person to talk face to face. The phone is so easy to ignore, so I may as well just show up if the person isn't too far away.

The results have been significantly better compared with group emails and even personalized emails. I get responses immediately and answers to the exact questions I have. It definitely takes more of my time chasing people down, but it's worth it. And I'm getting tired of playing Email Commander at my desk. The social contact is also nice when you live in a cubicle farm.

Meh on being polite.

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Damn: Fell asleep at work again!