Pop Quiz: I need to reach you in the next 15 minutes about an opportunity, what would you suggest I use?
Facebook? Twitter? IM? Phone call? TXT your phone?
I've got some friends who don't answer their phones but will respond to TXT messages within minutes. There are folks who love DM in Twitter, or Messaging in FB. And then there's IM (Yahoo, AIM, MSN, GTalk) and Skype and G-mail and now BUZZ. Oh and get this, I have some friends who love Skype, but for CHAT. So let's count them up.
- Phonecall direct (leave no voicemail)
- Phonecall indirect (VM left)
- IM – Yahoo
- IM – MSN
- IM – AIM
- IM – iChat or Jabber
- IM – Skype
- IM – Facebook chat
- Facebook Messaging
- Twitter (@ message)
- Twitter (DM message)
- Skype Video
- TXT to phone
- Google Buzz (not in my tool kit at the moment)
Did I miss any? And one other problem is even using some of the universal IM clients like Adium or GAIM, sometimes the special features of Yahoo Messenger for example, don't work within the alternative clients. So I've got one friend who likes to chat using Yahoo Messenger. I can respond via Adium (my favorite IM client) initially, but I have to open YM directly to access the other 50% of the data this friend is sending.
So I can't predict what works for everyone. Well, in fact, WE can't predict what works for *anyone.*
So my approach is to listen. Respond in like-kind to those who use alterna-connections. I tweet, and I update my FB status daily. But I rarely open IM unless someone I need to talk to is an IMer. (it's open right now and I'm chatting to one of my IMer friends.)
So I will give you the answer for me, in order of preference. That's the only system I understand, or pretend to understand.
- Text me
- Email me
- Call me
- DM me on Twitter
- Message me on Facebook.
If you need me to pay attention to something. Or you need to transmit more that a brief status update:
Call me, talk to me, tell me what you want.
Email me if it's not urgent but has a lot of information or action items you want my response on. Oh, and if it's business use my business email. If it's personal it's likely to get buried in my business email deluge. BUT (I know this is complicated, so bear with me…) if it's urgent and personal, do these three things. TXT me. Call me. Email me. If it's urgent, continue to escallate until you reach me.
Oh and finally, to be efficient, put the ASK right up front. Imagine that even in email you've only got 140 characters to tell me what you are asking me for. It helps. Even if there's paragraphs of data behind the ask, just get to the ask right away. And if you are looking for and ACTION or RESPONSE put that in the subject line. (Subject: ACTION REQUESTED: Please review this document and reply in 24 hours.) And if possible, give the person a deadline. If they miss the message, and miss the deadline for some reason, you can then proceed.
That way, when the tumble of emails continues to scroll past me in Outlook, I can see there's an Action request. (Hint: Using URGENT message statuses never works. On mobile email systems it may or may not even show up depending on the software and settings.) So use the Subject line of every email to state *exactly* what you want.
I'm happy to respond. I want to talk to you. I do, it's my nature.