Re: e-mail / social skills thank you

Subject: Re: e-mail / social skills thank you
From: Karen Kay <karenk -at- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Sun, 24 Sep 1995 10:13:39 -0700

Richard G Harris said:
> 1. Many people simply don't respond; this is infuriating and applies to
> voice mail as well. I would guess the right combination of face-to-face,
> phone calls, and e-mail probably yields the best result. Anyone have a
> winning combination?

Audience is everything.:) Different people like different media. I
worked w/ one guy who wouldn't answer mail (not deliberately, the
volume of mail just made him feel overwhelmed), but who returned phone
calls immediately. The trick is finding the medium that works best for
the person you're working with.

I'm working with four people now. One person, I like talking on the
phone with. That seems to work best. She likes really personalized
contact. I make of point of seeing her in person as often as I can.
(Once every two weeks or so.)

One guy just doesn't answer e-mail. If I send him e-mail, he phones me
to answer my question. He does fine in person, too.

The third person hates voicemail but LOVES e-mail. He also prefers f2f
to phone, which is sometimes annoying. (His office hour is 1/2 hour
away, so sometimes I schlep out there 1/2 hour, have a 10-minute
meeting, schlep 1/2 hour back. I've mostly broken him of this habit,
though.) Some of the questions I have, I feel like I need to show him
stuff, so in order to NOT have to spend an hour getting 5 minutes of
information, I have had to work on my descriptive abilities.

The fourth person I'm working with, I have a more complex relationship
with. We are usually carrying on several conversations at once through
phone and e-mail, but I haven't actually seen this guy in person for 4
or 5 months. There's a lot of mixing of voice and e-mail with him.

> 2. E-mail is usually easy to send. One result is that very often people
> respond immediately, and don't think about what they're saying (typing).
> Sometimes the response doesn't seem to have anything to do with the
> original question. Other than perhaps keeping each question short and
> to the point, any suggestions?

Sending e-mail has improved the quality of my spontaneous writing,
that's for sure. If the response doesn't have anything to do with the
question, I would first try again to get a response via e-mail,
quoting extensively so the person has a chance to realize they didn't
answer your question without your beating them over the head and
saying "Hey, bozo! You didn't answer my question." If this repeatedly
didn't work, I might ask directly what form of conversation the person
prefers, or simply try them in turn. I have been lucky--so far I
haven't found anyone who is irresponsible in all media!

karenk -at- netcom -dot- com

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