When to Pick up the Phone, and When to Schedule a Meeting
(or When to use Instant Messaging part two: the revenge)
- almost never
- please see #1 above
As with the earlier article, the problem with immediate communication is that the folks you’re addressing to have to stop doing whatever they were doing and start working on you instead. There are certainly times when this is appropriate, but here’s when it is not:
- When somebody is working on something you need to have done right away, and you just want to touch base with them to see how they’re doing. Trust me, if they need help they should ask for it. If they don’t, you have deeper communication problems. Either way, you are driving them crazy.
- When you want to bring something to somebody’s attention. I know that for most folks writing is harder than talking, but if you take an extra ten minutes and write an email that folks can read on their own time instead of forcing them to do the work of fully formulating your thought for you, you will be showing respect instead of implying disregard. As a side benefit, you may find that composing your thoughts helps you solve problems before they arise.
- You want to tell them that you just sent an email. The bad karma generated from this will have you reincarnated as Newt Gingrich’s support undergarments in your next life.
Be nice. It will make you and your team more productive. Trust me.