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Old 01-25-2013, 18:32   #1
CitizenOfDreams
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My rules of business communications - unreasonable?

When I communicate with people on business matters, I try to follow a simple set of common sense (at least to me) rules.

- If I have something that requires an immediate answer, I call people. I do not expect them to check their e-mail every 60 seconds 24 hours a day.

- If I have something that's not time critical, I either send e-mail, or call during business hours, excluding lunch break. I am also familiar with the concept of time zones.

- I call people from a phone number they can call back and reach me.

- If I call someone and get his voice mail, I listen to the message. It often tells you where to find the person you called or someone else who can help you.

- If I need to leave a voice message, I tell my name, my company, and how to call me back. I do not present my life story in a 10-minute monologue.

Do you think my set of rules is unreasonable?
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Old 01-25-2013, 18:35   #2
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Kidding, nope... sounds pretty reasonable to me, why ya askin?
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Old 01-25-2013, 18:39   #3
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Sounds good to me.


Some times the person I'm calling doesn't answer, so I leave a voice mail. I don't like text messaging and I avoid using it.

Now I know people are busy and may not be able to return the call, even the same day, but I'd like to get an answer so I at least know they got the message.

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Old 01-25-2013, 18:46   #4
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You Socialist pig dog!



Kidding, nope... sounds pretty reasonable to me, why ya askin?
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Old 01-25-2013, 18:47   #5
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If someone wants me to listen to a diatribe, they need to call me. You lost me at 'business matters'.
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Old 01-25-2013, 18:47   #6
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I work by similar guidelines.

I used to work at one of the largest companies in the world. Most folks were overloaded with work, and the amount of time spent in meetings was rediculous. In that culture, it was acceptable to ignore email and voice messages. instant messaging was introduced and that was nice because it made failing to respond completely obvious and a lot more awkward.
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Old 01-25-2013, 19:29   #7
CitizenOfDreams
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glock20 10mm View Post
sounds pretty reasonable to me, why ya askin?
Because so many people I deal with seem to live by the rules that are exactly opposite. Just an example from today...

3:45PM - a representative of our client (a company with a 9-digit quarterly revenue) sends me an e-mail requesting a quote. Needs it today.

4:30PM - I read my mail, immediately call the guy back with a followup question (he left out one small yet critical piece of information), get his voice mail. Apparently, he has left for the weekend.
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Old 01-25-2013, 19:35   #8
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Originally Posted by CitizenOfDreams View Post
Because so many people I deal with seem to live by the rules that are exactly opposite. Just an example from today...

3:45PM - a representative of our client (a company with a 9-digit quarterly revenue) sends me an e-mail requesting a quote. Needs it today.

4:30PM - I read my mail, immediately call the guy back with a followup question (he left out one small yet critical piece of information), get his voice mail. Apparently, he has left for the weekend.
I guess he didn't really need it that badly, or else he'd have been emailing or calling you to see how long before you had the quote prepared. Total failure on his part, although you'll end up looking like the bad guy, most likely.
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Old 01-25-2013, 19:47   #9
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Originally Posted by CitizenOfDreams View Post
3:45PM - a representative of our client (a company with a 9-digit quarterly revenue) sends me an e-mail requesting a quote. Needs it today.
Yep, that is the one thing that really annoys me. There's that old saying that many seem to ignore: Your urgency is not my emergency. Yeah, a cute saying, but it rings true so often.

I have found there are three reasons for this:

1. Lack of planning at an organization leaves everyone running around playing catch-up. A lot of things at these organizations is done half-assed.

2. The person wanting something immediately thinks the world revolves around them and their needs.

3. People do business this way because they don't know how to use technology efficiently.


The misuse and abuse of these technologies is sometimes astounding. People will do things like cancel meetings just because they have the technology to contact you at a moment's notice. It shows inconsideration and lack of commitment.

Okay, don't get me started now.
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Old 01-25-2013, 19:52   #10
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I make it a point to tell people (honestly) I don't know how to text. And checking my email is NOT a priority with me... maybe once or twice a day at most. So if you need me, telephone me. Let's t-a-l-k.
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Old 01-25-2013, 20:11   #11
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Yep, that is the one thing that really annoys me. There's that old saying that many seem to ignore: Your urgency is not my emergency. Yeah, a cute saying, but it rings true so often.
Actually, in my line of work urgency is common and expected. Some things we deal with happen without warning and require immediate reaction.

But, of course, what you are talking about is common as well. People know about something well in advance but they don't bother to inform me until the last second, or even later.

Here is an example from yesterday: a client forwards me a piece of information about an upcoming event. "...please reserve your hotel room by January 11th." Not a problem, I will just fire up my time machine and travel two weeks back.
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Old 01-25-2013, 20:19   #12
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He wanted the quote today so it would be sitting in his inbox waiting for him Monday morning.
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Old 01-25-2013, 21:04   #13
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He wanted the quote today so it would be sitting in his inbox waiting for him Monday morning.
He remembered he was supposed to ask for it by last Tuesday so he did his part of the work. He can tell his boss you're slow to get the quote back to him. Either way, they won't decide on whether to go ahead with it until the 2nd week of Feb.

I'm getting a building ready for move-in by Feb 12 for an original Sep 1 move-in date. They needed everything now, now, now, but don't expect the same from them.
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Old 01-25-2013, 21:24   #14
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Seems to be pretty hit or miss depending on who you're dealing with (unfortunately.)

I have clients who will repeatedly call me, or email me, asking about things that were already explained absolutely crystal-clear in an email. Some people won't spend more than 3 seconds reading an email even if it contains 4-5 paragraphs of very important information. Extremely annoying.

Others never call me at all, as both of us are very responsive to email, and actually read them in their entirety. One of my main clients hasn't had the need to speak with me on the phone for months because of this, and all is going well.

It sounds to me like you're doing everything right... but don't count on others to do so.
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Old 01-25-2013, 21:46   #15
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I've too run into clients and vendors who think e-mails are somehow immediate for both parties. It's maddening to appease the former while berating the latter for making the same exact mistake. HH
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Old 01-25-2013, 22:19   #16
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(Often, my boss wants my opinion or answers about the current job via email or voicemail. I'm in Field Service and my opinions concern our engineering department, customers, suppliers, and other contractors.

I tell him we'll talk, honestly, face-to-face, but I'm not putting anything in writing or audio. I'm not THAT stupid.)
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Old 01-26-2013, 11:58   #17
CitizenOfDreams
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One more rule:

- I do not make business calls with Skype, MagicJack, or any other "money saving" VoIP.
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Old 01-26-2013, 12:35   #18
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I see nothing wrong with your way of doing it.

It does depend on the type of job you do though. For me, I am on long conference calls so often, that I usually tell my customers email is faster, because I can respond to you right away while I am on my current call, instead of you waiting a hour for me to finish the call. At the very least I can respond with and email back saying "I'm on a call, it should be 30min more. I'll call you back when I am off". I also sit locked to my desk in front of my email all day, so there is no chance of me not seeing an email.


People demanding stuff ASAP and then not leaving enough info for me to be able to quote anything also annoys the crap out of me. Especially when they know better.
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Old 01-26-2013, 12:42   #19
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I disabled the IM app we are supposed to use, "on accident". Somehow I have never gotten around to resetting the password.

My email is set to check for new messages every 3 minutes. My best time so far is request to complete quote in 8 minutes.

I usually have a drawing, catalog or other hard copy open over my phone. Makes that little red light so hard to see, but desk space is at a premium and it is a small price to pay.

If I really need to know, I walk down the hall, find the person I need to ask or tell something and do so. This has benefits, most people here have food on their desks to encourage visitors. My favorite right now is the giant apothecary jar of animal crackers, but the purchaser with mini Reese cups is right up there.
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Old 01-26-2013, 13:52   #20
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There are times I need an immediate answer, but the need for an audit trial over-rides the immediacy of need. In those cases I go to email, not pickup the phone.

My overwhelming preference in business is email, reason #1 above (audit trial), reason #2 is while I know what time zones co- relate to what area/country codes, yesterday I was able to make a phone call from my cell phone in another country and a few times zones out, simply by using wifi calling from where I was. The act of globalization means that you may be able to reach me on my phone during business hours, but my hours may be different from yours, and I may not always broadcast where I am.

One of my other favorite rules is that I don't assume all is well in someone else's life. Business is important, but if my mother, or one of my kids is sick and dying, kima-yoyo (kiss my ass, you're on your own ) So I also try to be understanding that the other human I am interacting with has human issues that he/she may have fall in their lap in the middle of the deal.

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Old 01-26-2013, 15:10   #21
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I only answer the phone if my boss calls. I return voicemails with emails. I am way too busy and my priorities are MY priorities, not your lack of planning or understanding of the job you have been doing for 10+ years. I bet 50% of the emails I respond to are simply replies asking for the most relevant info, that its almost impossible to figure out how these people survive.

Every one on one call always ends with someone wanting to **** chat about weekend plans or how bad they hate their jobs. That's what happy hour is for, stop raping my ear hole when I'm busy.

Rant over.
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Old 01-26-2013, 15:53   #22
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I like when almost all of the voicemail is clear and understandable, yet irrelevant, until you get to the part where they leave their return number and it sounds like they're screaming it under water with a plastic bag over their head.
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Old 01-26-2013, 16:06   #23
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Just tell them listen up dang it, I don't have time to repeat this, for fools like you. That should get their attention.

All you want is their attention isn't it?
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Old 01-26-2013, 16:24   #24
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Create an audit trail when:

1) Anyone tries to make their lack of planning your problem. The 4:30 customer callback and finding the customer gone REQUIRES an email to them and your boss with your need for more data and how to reach you on Monday. The poor planner will blame you when challenged by their boss why they didn't deliver. Your boss needs to be informed so they are empowered to have your back.

2) You receive verbal orders in an adversarial situation (especially if the other party brings their subordinate/peer/boss as witness). Document to person in authority (or your lawyer) so the story doesn't change later.


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Old 01-26-2013, 16:52   #25
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I pretty much agree. I rarely use email unless it can wait or I need a trail, such as firearm inspection memos. I do tend to leave long messages because getting a phone call from the po-po can freak people out. It cuts down on frantic, repeated voicemails.
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