Communication is hilarious. There’s so much that can go wrong. Yet, we don’t think that way. We really for the most part don’t give it a second thought. We just do it, like a reflex. Here’s the thing: When you work as a knowledge worker it’s the only thing that matters - and we suck at it…
While there’s a ka-gillion aspects of communication that can make it suck. But here’s one I think we need to work on the most: Using the appropriate medium for the message.
It’s 9:00 am and you just got an email. The subject line is in all caps and it’s got one of those red exclamation points on it. My first reaction? WTF? We’re under attack! RrrrrrrrUN!
Of course that’s stupid. No one is dying, and while it might be important… my biological reaction of panic certainly doesn’t match the message… or, the medium.
If you’re expressing an emergency, life-altering in nature (good or bad) email is not the right medium to alert your peers. Instead, I’d suggest walking over to the recipient of your panic and talking to them with your face.
The basic order in priority from “Holy shit!” to “Meh, good to know” is:
- In person
- A phone call
- Twitter DM
- Maybe (but hardly) Facebook
Yes, its crazy that there's so many methods / mediums to communicate with. So what. Get over it. Its a good thing. The medium used actually helps us sort the importance of the message.
We’re busier than ever. A little respect goes a long way. That respect starts with accessing people in the most appropriate way possible so they can prioritize your need and give you the most appropriate response… you know - communication.