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Choosing the Best Method of Communications
On a busy day, because of my consulting work, I’ll receive a mix of text messages, phone calls, emails, Facebook messages, and other communications. I like to be very available and accessible through whatever means people are most comfortable with, but here are some general guidelines I use for communications. In summary, I prefer using email, but text and phone calls are fine when a quick time sensitive response is needed.
EMAIL – I check emails frequently throughout the day and usually respond instantly to short messages where a brief response is needed. This keeps my inbox clear. Rather than phone or text messages, email is my preferred method of communication for the following reasons: (1) When a message comes in, if needed, I can flag it for follow-up later so it doesn’t get overlooked. (2) I can organized emails into folders. (3) I like having the ability to quickly search for a specific email from someone. (4) Longer detailed dialogs that spread over several days are more easily done with email. (5) If I’m sharing multiple links or images in an email it’s easier to do that. (6) When something needs to be discussed by several people, email works well. (7) Having a subject line is helpful for identifying discussion threads.
TEXT – While I try to respond throughout the day to emails, sometimes a short text message from someone is helpful if a brief time-sensitive response is needed such as “Hey Greg, can we meet at 3PM instead of 2PM today?” That way I can see the message and respond quickly. Unlike a phone call, text allows for a few separate simultaneous conversations with different people. Unlike a phone call, I can receive and reply to a text message even if I’m in a meeting. However, if an urgent response isn’t needed, then I prefer email.
PHONE – As with text messages, a phone call is nice for quick time-sensitive exchanges. Phone calls can also be a more efficient way to discuss something or have a longer casual conversation. When driving or biking, phone calls are a great way to follow-up with people. Having a hands-free discussion when driving or working around the home or office can be very helpful. Sometimes a phone call can be a nice way to give the fingers a break from typing. When providing remote support, I’ll typically be on the phone with someone while working with them on their computer. With my consulting business, I get initial support requests from new customers by phone (or email). There are occasions when a call with tech support may take an hour or more. Because I’m on the phone a lot for my work, it’s sometimes hard to reach me by phone. This is why I prefer email for anything that doesn’t need an urgent response. If I’m on the phone or meeting with someone in person, I usually don’t take another incoming call. So if you’re trying to reach me but I’m not available by phone, and you need an urgent response, try a text message instead. Otherwise use email.