Be Brief, Be Complete - The First Time
Most of us have heard the old expression about land. They’re not making any more of it, hence the value. Well, the same is true of everyone’s time. Some of my clients drive me to consider drink. I ask for name, address, phone number, date and time. I receive a reply with only one component of my request. So I ask again. The second request yields the second variable. Thus, way too many emails are required to acquire basic information. Did they read my request? Or, is it that their attention span is so limited that only the last component of my request has “stuck”?
In general notary work, dealing with individuals; this is somewhat expected. They are not used to providing complete information. It’s not that they don’t want to; it’s that, even with my email on screen; they are incapable when it comes to transversing a multiple item request. So, it’s back and forth; virtually pulling teeth to complete my “work order”.
However, when dealing with professionals, the communications MUST become much more streamlined. Few will want to work with someone who requires a protracted email exchange to accomplish a routine transaction. If you are the cause: you are wasting their time! And, you can be sure of this: they will remember to shun you in the future. The professionals we work with expect communications excellence from us. When you go back and forth a few times they are starting to do a slow burn. They picture a dope at the other end that cannot send concise and accurate email with the proper details. So, if you don’t email to them properly, it’s off the list you go. They are often really busy; multiple emails clog their inbox and, worse, unnecessarily take more of their time.
Before you hit that “send” button, pause to think. Is all the information that they want at the other end included? Are you sure? Is that email going to move the project forward? Or, is it trivial and can wait for when more substantial content is available. Of course some information is time critical and should be delivered ASAP, but not ever itty bitty bit of what you have to say.
Confession time. I have just been chastised by a truly professional email processor. One who needs to respond to over a hundred email items daily. I was taken to task for a ten email exchange which should have been at most, the very most; four emails in total. I wasted a very busy person’s time and they scolded me for doing so. And I deserved it. And that is the inspiration for this blog entry. Yours truly was so “into” the subject that I missed the method. An easy mistake that I am willing to bet many of us make. I was lucky, my correspondence partner chastised me. That, to me, is a lot better than just having them think of me as a jerk. The jerk part is probably in their mind and if I am more considerate of their time; perhaps they will modify their opinion of me in the future. My actions, going forward; will attempt to regain their respect.
Email is a valuable tool. It documents the arrangements and leaves nothing to memory. Voice communications have the same requirement. Brevity and essential factual content mark you as a good communicator. Ramblings with little useful information drive away those who wish to hire you. Voice or email, the “klutz” factor shines thru, and very brightly. Think before you talk and before you email. Is what you are saying what the other side needs and wants to hear? Strive for clear, concise and complete communications – The First Time. You might not get a second chance. They won’t “put up with you” for very long if you don’t show respect for their time.