Communication Breakdown


Here’s how I see the forms of communication and what they say about who’s sending the message:

Twitter or forum message to the public: “I need help, and I’ll take it from anybody who’s available, inside or outside of my company.”

Email: “I need you specifically, but it’s not urgent.”

Instant Message: “I need you specifically, and whatever you’re doing on your computer right now is less important than what I need.”

Phone Call: “I need you specifically, and whatever you’re doing on your computer or in your office right now is less important than what I need.”

Before you send an IM or make a phone call, stop to consider the person on the other end.

Is what you’re asking for really a higher priority than whatever they’ve got open on the computer and who’s standing in front of them?

If not, be a nice guy: send an email, or even better, ask more people at once so that someone with free time can respond faster.

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9 Comments. Leave new

  • Also, remember that none of us are as smart as all of us combined. Twitter and forums allow us to use crowd knowledge to find a great answer to a problem quickly and with involved discussions. That's not to say that talking to an expert one-on-one isn't great for learning. Personally, I've found that by mining the wisdom of the community I can often find a solution to my specific problem, learn a great deal about the specific situation, and increase my overall understanding of how SQL Server works. Plus, I can often contribute something to another person's knowledge base.

  • sadly, I have an older gentleman who will walk up and interrupt a conversation between two people without even knowing what they are talking about. He also calls the repository the suppository and IIS by SSIS so I guess I should give him a break. He's gotta be pushing 70.

  • yeah, add on the list "walking up in person"

  • What is wrong with "walking up in person". The younger generation is endlessly distracted, with twitter, facebook, IMs, TXTs etc etc…

    We are rapidly losing our human connection and most of us (including the previous commentors) don't even realize it !

  • There's absolutely nothing wrong with walking up in person as long as the other person isn't doing anything at the moment. In today's enterprise, though, it's pretty rare that someone is sitting around in their office idle – at least in the offices where I visit. 🙂

  • An have an irrational phobia of telephones since not using them at work on a regular basis for 2 years. Email I now detest and I would honestly outlaw it if I ever rule the world.

  • I would kill for an office right about now. I fight the distractions to stay in "flow" on a regular basis.

  • I hate instant messages. I don't use any of the IM services. To me, if I'm on the computer it's because I'm trying to do something specific and I don't want to be interrupted.

  • Boy, today is one of those days I keep thinking about this post. I’d actually add one more subset, the communication method where somebody walks up to your cube, says “hey I just sent you an email, can you run this query for me and I can creepily stare over your shoulder and look at the results? Because obviously whatever you’re doing is less important…to me anyway.”


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