STOP! Wait a minute! Before you send that text/instant message that you’re about to send. Read this first!
If you’re anything like me, you’ve gotten used to flicking a quick message to someone when something comes to your mind. This doesn’t seem like an issue or like it should be a problem however, have you ever stopped to consider the impact to the recipient on the other end? Furthermore, we send those messages while in a rush or as it comes to mind. Often, we don’t take a moment to think about what we’re sending.
I recently read a blog post that was in relation to efficiency in the workplace. It was about how we discuss managing our own time and efficiency yet fail to consider the impact sending an email has on its recipient’s day. As I read the post, and being someone who is very keen on efficiency, it was really confronting to me. I realised, I don’t often consider the recipient on the other end. I thought I had by being courteous and sending a quick email rather than disturbing them by popping to their desk or phoning them.
As this person pointed out in their blog post, whilst we have good intentions, the fact they stop what they’re doing to read your email/ message still interrupts their day as much as a phone call or in-person visit does. So how do we avoid that? Well, there’s the matter of, “tough sh*t”… if something needs to be said, it needs to be said.
However, if we stopped before we hit the send button and took a moment to think about the message. Is this something I could resolve myself? Is this the right way to pass on this message? etc. we might find that we can sort issues ourselves or find better alternatives for passing the information on.
Perhaps scheduling in time with that person to go through everything that’s on your mind? Perhaps just talk to that person about what works best for them. Especially if you work with them often? I don’t know the answer but, there must be a better way!
As I read this article, I first thought about work but then I started to think about life outside work in general. I considered those people I message often throughout the day. I wondered what impact it has on their day when I interrupt their own working day with my message. Not to say what I sent isn’t important, but perhaps there could be a better approach.
Since reading that post a few weeks ago, I’ve since made some changes. I didn’t go about these changes as a considered approach, however in reflection, I’ve made these changes without actually realizing I was doing so. It’s only now that I’m reflecting on this that I realise I have.
There’ve been a few messages over the past fortnight that I’ve been about to send and before I sent them, I’ve thought about it. I looked at the message for a while and thought about what the recipient might be doing at that time. I thought, is this really something they need to hear right now? Can it wait? Most times, I ended up deleting the message and leaving it till I saw them in person or next phoned them for a catch up. Anything I thought I might forget, I noted down somewhere as a reminder.
In doing so, I feel I’ve made less of a negative impact on that person’s day by allowing them the time to focus on what’s more important at that moment, such as their work. I also feel I’ve had better conversations in person because we’ve been able to discuss in detail the issues which would have been sent via message. We’ve been able to be clearer about where each of us stand, our opinions/ perspectives and been able to come to better solutions, and build better connections.
Ultimately, there is no substitute for a decent discussion.
To sum it up, I don’t have the answers. I wish I did. Communication seems to always be an on-going work in progress for most people. One thing we certainly can do, however is to be more considerate of others before we send them a message. Take an extra minute to consider the following before you hit send:
- Is it important
- Can it wait?
- Is this the best method to deliver this message?
- What is the impact to the recipient of receiving this right now?
If you’ve thought through all that, and you still think you need to send the message, then check your message is clear, concise and reads how you want it to from another person’s perspective. If it does all that, then go ahead and send away! 😊
Heck, do what you want to do. I’m not going to tell you how to live your life but I do absolutely recommend being courteous and thoughtful when it comes to other people, how you impact their day and what you can do to make improvements. We can all make the world a better place, one message at a time.
Peace out, Brit Army! If you liked this post, please share/like/comment. Thank you 🙂