Management Tips

When did responding to a person’s inquiries become a crime?

Please stop stealing time from your colleagues and friends.

That’s what it is if you never return an email, text or phone call. When someone does that to me it pisses me off.

Royally.

You work hard and get nothing in return. In a business setting it’s not as if you go out of your way just for fun, right? You actually have a reason to reach out otherwise you wouldn’t.

Actually, it doesn’t matter if it’s business or personal.

Does it?

I read somewhere that email is now considered old school. I am a 47 year old guy. To some I am still young but to many people I come across I am already old. It scares me at times because I am afraid my traits as a Gen X personality may get in the way of my technological flexibly and my attitude toward acknowledgment.

I still think it’s important to acknowledge someone directly when engaged.

Hey, these days’ people talk a lot about littering data steams with useless information. Filling the echo chamber with needless chatter is the resounding call of the internet kings of the day. For example there was some debate (80+ comments is a good indicator) recently about whether or not it’s a waste of time to thank people on Twitter for an RT (retweet) because all we would be doing is littering our streams with seemingly useless data.

Ridiculous.

If you receive an acknowledgement then say thank you. What the heck is wrong with that? Littering a data stream?

Really?

Are sound waves and email treated as the same thing?

It’s a ludicrous argument to think that someone is too busy to acknowledge you when they get addressed personally. Look, I am not talking about being spammed here. I am simply saying that if someone spends their valuable hard earned time to send you an email, calls you, tweets you or drops you a message on Facebook how difficult is it to return the favour?

Sure, there is still a discernable difference between being social and conducting business but we know the lines are blurred these days so it doesn’t much matter anymore which it is. If you are in business you are going to have to be social and if you are going to be social then you are going to have to respond.

In a timely manner.

No matter who you think you are.

Plain and simple.

And don’t try to tell me that you can’t do it because there is too much going on. That’s “you know what” and a perfect example of No. 10 on my TRY SAYING THIS INSTEAD list.

How do you feel when you are acknowledged?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pretty damn good I bet.

So, if you can’t find the time in the day to respond with some meaning at least drop a quick email or text or tweet or whatever with a “I will get back to you.” And for heaven sake say thank you when you get acknowledged in the social spaces.

It will make you feel better too.

Do I do that?

You bet your bacon I do.

I am not superman either.

I am just a man standing in front of his social media world asking it to love him.

 

 

 

 

Over to you:

How do you deal with the huge influx of messaging, calls and emails on a daily basis? How do you ensure the people who take the time to share your message with their world know that you care about them too?

 

 

About this Author: Ralph Dopping (195 Posts)

A quirky sense-o-humour coupled with an indelible sense of stylish sarcasm makes it difficult to take the world too seriously doesn't it? My faves: fun, passion and hard work. I work here everyday: www.designdialog.ca


28 comments
barrettrossie
barrettrossie

I'm just going to ignore this. No, wait... Great post, Ralph. My only quibble (maybe not even a quibble, but an addition) is that someone has to get the last word in. So I may not be thanking someone for thanking me for my RT. It is very disheartening when someone fails to respond when you reach out to them in a personal way, especially through email or the telephone. I sometimes give them a second chance by "resending" an email. They're often happy to reply -- which indicates they never saw the original, or are too embarrassed to mention it.

BetsyKCross
BetsyKCross

I have to be honest about what's going on right now for me and how it relates to Triberr, Twitter, emails, and Facebook. I engage with people who engage with me. But I have to be able to discern a personal connection. Does that make sense? I know for a fact that tons of people from tribes I'm on NEVER read my posts. I could thank them for sharing it. Maybe it's rude that I don't. I did thank them at first, but I was concerned about massive Thank you's in the Twitter stream. So I stopped. I think I'll leave a group message about that on my tribe wall, maybe start a conversation about it there to clear the air or ask if it would be better for me to leave the tribes since it's too overwhelming to truly connect to everyone.

I've watched a pattern emerge (with me) that I'm trying to understand- if a Tweet is more than just the link to my post, if I know that someone found value in it or me for them, I tend to want to build that relationship. I'm concerned that that might seem shallow...? I HATE ignoring people. It feels terrible to e ignored and I believe you should treat people the way you want to be treated. But is that really possible with overload on every platform? I posted yesterday and (I'm such a baby) got one comment. I came home from a long day at work and called my mom and cried-not for lack of comments but for what it felt like to be so disconnected....My mom reminded me that it was the holiday season....Bottom line, this is an emotional issue whether we like it or not, because everyone likes to feel valued by other people! (sorry so long. It's early and the house is quiet!)

 

Lori
Lori

Hi Ralph,

I try to thank everyone, even if they are Triberr mates. It seems only right to say Thank-you - is that old school? I feel it's better to do individual thank-yous than group ones, though. That's like receiving a Thank you email that's sent to a group.  It feels much less grateful! Is it just me?

Lori

Latest blog post: I Have an Idea!

Faryna
Faryna

I agree with you completely and wholeheartedly. More importantly, you should take me out to the field and put me down. Because I am guilty as hell. It'd just be easier for all concerned if you pushed a shotgun muzzle into my mouth and pulled the trigger. Seriously!

 

I'm overwhelmed. I can't keep up with it all. I can't even say I can keep up with all the things that matter. Or the people written upon my heart. [sigh]

 

Too many platforms and way too many connection points. Too much to do. Too much still unfinished...

 

Recently on my blog:

Honor Glitters Greatest in the Human Heart

http://stanfaryna.wordpress.com/2012/11/20/honor-glitters-greatest-in-the-human-heart-p2-graphic-novelette/

Jens-Petter Berget
Jens-Petter Berget

This is a wake up call for me Ralph. I absolutely agree about the importance of always responding, and I am that guy too. My problem, not being superman, is that for the past months, I have received a ton of email and messages on social media, and it's just so hard to keep up with it all. Just going through the emails and delete the ones that are not personal takes a lot of time. And I'm not going to hire an assistant :)

 

I've been thinking about working an extra hour a day just to be able to do everything like I used to do. Thanks a lot for the wake up call Ralph :)

libgrl
libgrl

I much prefer to receive the acknowledgement than to be left wondering if someone got my message, or feeling that what I contributed didn't matter to anyone. Between work email, personal email, twitter, facebook, linked in,etc etc etc plus phone calls you'd think we'd be tired of hearing of hearing responses but I always appreciate the person who responds, and responds quickly. 

Caitlin Kelly
Caitlin Kelly

I don't get that many emails or calls (should I admit this?) so it's not a big deal for me. I make dozens of calls and emails every day looking for freelance work, networking, being social, working on longterm projects. I agree that it's rude as hell to ignore someone -- as long as they're not sending spam or stupid junk. I am older than you and the one communication format I utterly ignore (fogey alert!!!) is texting. I will respond promptly to most emails, phone calls and social media. But I never read texts and I never send them...in my case, passenger pigeon would be a better choice than a text.

 

The larger issue now is not knowing who listens to/reads what...I recently left two politely urgent VM mesages on a source's home phone...then emailed her on Linked In saying I need you, now! She had never (?) checked her home phone. Oy. You have to be more of a pest than you might think or prefer...

ExtremelyAvg
ExtremelyAvg

This is an excellent post and something I'm terrible at doing. I tend to be really bad at responding to voice mail, mostly because I simply don't ever check it. It is rare that I'll listen to VM more than twice a year. I'm also bad about checking some of my email addresses. I'm good with Twitter.

 

I've been wondering what the protocol is for thanking someone on a Triberr share?  Since those tweets are going out in an automated fashion, I have not sent thank-yous. What do you think about Triberr shares?

Latest blog post: Worst Cricket Ever

rdopping
rdopping moderator

 @barrettrossie Personally i just write them off. That's why I have no real friends. ;-)

I actually know a few people who think they need to always have the last word. Sad but true. It's simply not necessary, is it now?

 

And yes, if there is absolutely no reply then there is no interest in my mind, however, I come from some weird school of thought where no matter who not if i am interested or not I always send some sort of acknowledgement. Just my own weirdly shaped existence.

rdopping
rdopping moderator

Hey  @BetsyKCross I feel you. I think all bloggers or simply all people feel the same way. It takes a long, long time to build a real community of true friends and followers. Think about friends in real life who come and go. They do and it's not because they don't have a connection but because they have other priorities too. I know you know that. It just felt cathartic to say that.

 

The other stuff, the thanking people, etc from Triberr and the like, well, I always try to get to everyone. I do that because someone choose to share my post even if it is superficial. Last week I received 48 shares on one post and I went about looking up each one that I didn't know on Twitter ever so briefly. It didn't take long and I actually gained a few new followers just by interacting with them on a more personal level. I checked out their sites, what they are up to and if it suits my interests I follow back. I think that's the key. If it suits your interest.

 

The on-line world is a fickle place. You know that too. You write wonderfully and with a ton of passion. I often come by and read but sometimes don't have much to say so I tweet your post as a way to share the gratitude I felt for reading it. Does that make sense?

 

You have a great approach on building relationships on-line. Better than most. It irks me when a share appears shallow but then again I have no idea why it may appear so. If I engage, as I mentioned above, and get no response back than I know it's not worth pursuing. Man, this IS a weird place, that way. Numbers seem to rule in some way, however, emotions always play into it. There is no real formula for success, is there?

rdopping
rdopping moderator

Hey  @Lori sute, you are incredibly old school! ;-) but in a good way.

 

Personally, I don't have an issue saying thanks to a group. For instance, I was at a dinner a few weeks back put on by a supplier who hosted a group of design professionals in a round table discussion on industry issues. I sent a thank you note to the supplier and all the participants in an email to share my excitement of the evening. It just seemed appropriate to do that. I treat thank you's on-line in a similar manner. If they are long time connections I thank them personally and if they are not connections or someone new in my view I thank in groups. It also depends on volume. There are sometimes a lot of shares and getting to each one with a personal note is not always possible but I do try.

 

Hey thanks for coming by. Great ideas brewing over there at Life, huh?

rdopping
rdopping moderator

Hey @Faryna You know I don't know you that well but after that I am going to call you a drama queen. I appreciate the nature of social and you can only do what you can do. You and a shotgun would be a terrible waste. Even though I know you are kidding.

rdopping
rdopping moderator

 Awww @Jens-Petter Berget don't beat yourself up! You can only do what you can do. Running a business cannot be easy, I am sure. I offered some ideas here on how i deal with multiple channels. Busy is all different for each of us. It ebbs and flows. I set aside time each day in small segments to monitor what I have received and respond and I naturally weed out all the garbage (spam, ads, soliciting) and typically deals with email first and the social channels second. The key for me is to chunk out 15min at three points in the day to check and respond. If there is a longer task, like replying to blog posts like this, it takes a bit more time but I tend to plan time for that too.

 

I am just glad I don't get hundreds of comments and hey, if you do, a good percentage of those are discussion between other folks that you don't need to chime in on.

 

I hope that helps and keep on! Had any good pizza lately? Ever hear from that @bdorman264 guy anymore?

rdopping
rdopping moderator

Hi Renee @libgrl thank you so much for leaving a comment here. Much appreciated. I wholeheartedly agree with you. How do you manage all the information though?

 

As I mentioned to @Caitlin Kelly here I set aside time to monitor my social channels and each falls into a schedule based on priority. Work first, social second. LinkedIn first, Twitter second and finally Facebook. There are others like Instagram which are more anecdotal based so the give and take seem more immediate. I use that sporadically so it doesn't seem to be as demanding. I guess it's what you put into it that matters. 

 

Poked around your site. Interesting stuff there. I need to dig deeper.

rdopping
rdopping moderator

Hey  @Caitlin Kelly glad these posts spark interest. I also don't text much but I do when I am meeting friends or organizing a group meet up because it is some much easier than calls. The idea there is we all know to look out for a text. If it's random then it may be tough to notice.

 

Regardless, I personally monitor my notifications a couple of times a day so I can see who is connecting to me. It's not debilitating if you treat it like a task and hey at times I respond right away if the mood strikes. I have to remain very productive in my work so building routine and priority around responding to people is built into my DNA. Naturally we all get a lot of spam and that also takes time to get rid of but at the end of the day the rest ends up being manageable.

 

Some people are just not tuned into life (like never answering phone call? what? who doesn't listen to vm?). there's not much you can do about that other than recognize they will never get back to you. What drives me nuts is if you try a few channels and they remains silent. How can someone be THAT busy? Seriously?

rdopping
rdopping moderator

 @ExtremelyAvg Hey Brian, you bring up a good point regarding Triberr and I was hoping someone would dig into it. There is no way you can always catch everyone especially if your community reaches a level where you would spend a whole day responding. Strategically, you may reply to comments on your blog instead of thanking everyone on Twitter but you do get notified in you @ connect tab so you can easily see who has shared your post. Not sure how automated Triberr shares are. I choose whose posts I want to share.

 

At my level, the small number of shares I get per post (40-50) I have the time to thank everyone that is in my network and I "group thank" (a bunch of thank you notes in one tweet) people who I don't necessarily correspond with regularly. 

 

Did that answer your question?

BetsyKCross
BetsyKCross

 @rdopping Thank you for your kind words. I guess it's really a question of am I all in or not? I'm impressed that you thank everyone for their shares. I'll try giving some time to that. I know I appreciate a thank you. And you know, we humans have egos to be dealt with that are our own responsibility, and that can distract us from reaching out and appreciating others. I watch how I react to some responses or lack therof- my thoughts reveal more about me than about someone else because I don't know much about their life, their day, their struggles, or limitations. Maybe it's time for me to retrain my thoughts to think the best of everyone instead of going to the negative. I can DO that! Thanks for the inspiration, Ralph.

Faryna
Faryna

 @rdopping  @Faryna There's a whole lotta drama in the truth. That's the problem with truth. [grin]

Jens-Petter Berget
Jens-Petter Berget

I eat pizza several times a week @rdopping :) And I had an awesome pizza when I visited Copenhagen about a week ago.

 

I should probably do what you're doing. Now, I just do everything when it comes to email and social media in one batch, when I feel that I have the time. Or like now, when I'm waiting for a meeting :)

 

It's been a while since I've heard anything from @bdorman264 - but I'm planning to ask him what's going on over at his insurance company.

bdorman264
bdorman264

I still see ya; just getting some 'projects' taken care of, just on the other side of the wall for now.

bdorman264
bdorman264

I still have the Kung Fu grip, so look out. Heading out to play some golf on this lovely eve o' Thanksgiving.....

rdopping
rdopping moderator

 @Jens-Petter Berget  @bdorman264 Ha! There you go. You got it! As I knew you would. Cheers! And yeah, hassle that Dorman guy. He needs to show his face once in a while so we know when he ups to no good.