Archive for the 'communication' Category

Invent the paper clip

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

Curious about Communication | Pet Peeves


Invent the paper clip.

My dad used to tell me that.  He said I’d be set up for life if I found a 10 cent fix for everyone’s problems.

With that in mind, I present some Communication Pet Peeves.
If we know what they are, then they can be fixed.

Here’s my version of David Letterman’s Top Ten List, starting with yesterday’s subject:

1)  people who only use text

2)  poor spelling and grammar
One interviewee said that with all the spell checkers, this just shows laziness.

3)  24-7 expectations.
People are having trouble setting boundaries and respecting boundaries.

4)  Over punctuation!!!!!!!!

5)  Ditto for smileys.  :-)  :-)  :-)

6)  lack of salutations
Another interviewee said that it made emails seem more terse than they really were

7)  using email to avoid a phone call

8)  no consolidation
Just too many places to answer (email, phone, text, Facebook, etc, etc) for both business and then personal on top of that.

9)  no response to an email or phone call


10)  no land line
One interviewee misses having a land line that she can slam down every now and again.

Okay, so maybe she had gotten a bit riled up while listing her pet peeves.


Baby Boomers versus Gen X versus Gen Y

Friday, November 5th, 2010

Curious about Communication | Texting


Texting.  Causing a scuffle between Baby Boomers and Gen X and Gen Y.  Can’t we all just get along?

Texting was a hot button in my survey.
People were not Anti-Text, they just didn’t want it used in the workplace.

they often had to because their co-workers or employees were texting.

Example #1
One person said that for months he had repeatedly asked his employees to use email or phone, but the texting continued.  And still continues.  This makes him not happy…he sounded pretty peeved about it.

Example #2
Another person had fired several employees for this very reason.  She felt that her insubordinates should use the communication that she preferred.  In other words, she was the boss.

Example #3
Yet another person had to beg her interns to use email instead of text.

This last person was a guinea pig in my survey.  I chose her because she was 26 years old.  I wanted to see if there really was a generational difference.  She totally blew my assumptions to bits.  She was an ardent email and phone user, with all the good habits of a successful business person (which she is, by the way).  Her interns were aged 21-24, literally the same age as her.

That was the key!  It isn’t an age thing or what generation you’re part of that predicts your communication habits when it comes to business.  If you’re in any kind of position of responsibility, with multiple clients or projects, then you use email and phone.  Small business owners, managers, executives…all know the importance of a paper trail.  Employees and interns, maybe they haven’t had to learn the lesson of a lost contract or remembering the details of a conversation across several emails.

What is the future for texting?  Will it take over the world?

Texting, IM, Skype, Facebook, Twitter

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Curious about Communication | Other kinds of communication


Last year I reached a point where I couldn’t count on my fingers just how many forms of communication and devices and software interfaces that I had to use on a daily basis.  Not to mention extra email addresses at yahoo and gmail.  My morning check-in routine was tedious and ridiculous and seemed somehow unavoidable.

Like that old Talking Heads song…”How did I get here?”

I was curious to see how other people were faring.
In my recent phone survey, everyone used a little bit of everything for communicating.
Everyone preferred to use phone or email, but when forced, would accommodate other methods.

Almost no one used Twitter for direct messaging.  They only used it for social media marketing. I had to ask because although I’m not a cutting edge trendsetter, I have actually used direct messaging to reach colleagues.

First, there would be a groan.
People thought it was good for business PR or for doing global status updates for high school reunions, but beyond that it was a big time suck.

In fact, everyone and I mean EVERYONE, loathed having to answer correspondence in Facebook.
There were just too many extra steps needed (clicking, logging in, going to the Wall) just to post a response.

One person expressed it perfectly:
“I get a pang of irritation when a Facebook notification appears in my inbox”.

This was mostly for internet industry professionals, who have their very own communication culture to deal with.  I was interviewing people who were top level executives and managers.  They mentioned IM as a necessary evil.  They didn’t like that they had to be “on” and available, even at 3am.  And, in their industry, many expect you to answer if you’re computer is on at 3am.

People like the ease  of it and want to use it even more.  But so far, not used much.

For most people, about 1% of their communications were texting.
Many people felt it was just too casual for a business environment.
Texting has no paper trail, it interrupts and if it’s a conversation, your thumbs start to hurt.
Others felt that if there were more than four texts, then it was time to switch to phone.
Most would only use it for logistics like “hey, I’m running late” or “in a meeting, call you after”.

If they knew the other person only responded by texting, then they would also adopt text.
Of course, this provided much consternation in their work lives.

Tomorrow it gets juicy: 
the controversy of texting in the workplace.