By: Hillel Fuld (@Hilzfuld)
Here he goes again, one of his OCD rants… Yes, lately, I have gone on several rants in response to behavior I have witnessed in the business world. Like this post on email etiquette, or this post on phone calls in general, or this post on the way we communicate. The truth is, if you read that last post carefully, there would be no need for this one…
The way we communicate is, too often, us thinking about our own needs and not the needs of the person with whom we are communicating. Our use of the Enter button is a perfect example.
Our brain is wired to work in a way that thoughts come in spurts. We have one thought, then before we can even digest it, another thought pops into our heads. That is just the way the brain works. That does not mean, however, that we should be communicating in a similar manner. You see, our instinct is maybe to write everything that pops into our heads, but think about the recipient for one second…
Every time you have a thought and you send it to the person with whom you are communicating, one of two things occur. Either their phone notifies them that they got a message, or if their notifications are off, another message is added to the number of unread messages they are going to need to sort through later.
In my case, for example, I have notifications turned on so I can respond to people in a timely manner. That means that every time you hit Enter on a message to me, or a comment on my FB, or a DM on Twitter, I get pinged. So imagine this scenario. I am working on something important, and you message me. I get pinged and tell myself I will address it after I am done with whatever I am doing. But then you send another message and hit Enter. Another ping. Then you had another thought you wanted to share with me on the topic. A third notification.
Can you understand why that can be annoying and distracting? Yes, I can disable notifications when I work, and I can also remove myself from a FB group to which I was added without consent. The thing is, I shouldn’t have to. It is not my responsibility to change my work flow because people are inconsiderate. It is those people’s job to not be inconsiderate.
Assume that every message you send is going to interrupt the person to whom you are sending it. If it is a relevant message, then the person will be ok being interrupted, but please, fight the temptation to hit Enter every time you have a thought, and instead, let yourself finalize an entire thought process, then send it in one long block of text. Of course, try not to make it too long, which brings us back to the email etiquette post I linked to above.
Even if my notifications were disabled, eventually, whenever I do check what I missed, instead of having one message from you, which I can easily read, I will have 18 incoherent thoughts that you wrote down as you thought them. That is not very effective or considerate.
It all comes back to thinking of the needs of others, and not only your own needs. If we all communicated that way, by putting myself in the shoes of the person I am talking to, we might all be able to focus more, and increase productivity, not to mention, lower our collective blood pressure.
As rants go, this wasn’t so bad, now was it…?