Don’t Bring A Knife To A Gun Fight

I recently shared some thoughts about communicating like a weenie.  Specifically, using an inappropriate platform to deliver difficult news.

The examples I cited – like getting fired or being dumped – are extreme cases.  But aren’t we often guilty of using the wrong communications platform or tool in our daily work and personal lives?

For instance…

  • A coworker used to IM me ad nauseam with questions concerning projects even though his office was next to mine.  Information could have been exchanged faster and more effectively had he simply popped his head in my door.
  • A colleague has a client who calls her to answer yes/no types of questions when a simple e-mail, IM or text suffices.  Invariably, she said, calls that should last 30 seconds become 30 minutes of wasted time.
  • My cycling buddy texts me with 20 questions about our Saturday morning group ride (where are we going, what’s the forecast, who else is riding, is it hilly, etc.) when it could be handled on a call.

You shouldn’t bring a knife to a gun fight.  Likewise, choose the medium that allows all parties to most effectively and efficiently communicate so they can go about their day.

I typically ask a new contact, “Are you a talker or typer?”

Of course, a discussion tends to evolve from the initial exchange.  It’s at this point when someone needs to suggest changing the communications platform or tool to a more appropriate one.

Admittedly, that’s easier said then done.

How do you manage and police this?  And do you find the other party is receptive or resistant when you suggest changing the communications method?

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