Saturday, October 17, 2009

Blackberry... Ick

I hate blackberry, not the company, just the device. In the world of finance and business the blackberry has become a mandatory device. While access to individuals has certainly increased as a result of this device, I am constantly challenged by the poor quality of communication one often receives from people using it.

Blackberry = low quality communication

An actual example of a message sent to a blackberry user:
Bob the 14K form for dividend contributions, does it have all of the customer info? I have the customer coming to the office in an hour. Hope Anne and the family are well, are you still planning on getting away this weekend?
Response from Bob, a blackberry user:
Anne is well, yep we r going up to the cabin this weekend.
What Bob has failed to do is answer all of the questions in the initial email, or even focus in on the key question. Sure he was likely in a meeting or undergoing some other distraction at the time, but upon pressing send on his reply he feels that the communication is terminated and there are no other items he needs to examine- which is hardly the case. As I was not at my desk to receive the response a further 2 hours went by before I could touch base again with Bob to get the answer to my initial question- ultimately defeating any benefit garnered by the blackberry.

How to Communicate with Blackberry Users

Over time I have learned how best to communicate with blackberry users. There are two simple rules:
  1. Ask one question per email.
  2. Always lead with an easy question.
Asking one question per email is fairly obvious. In a world of distractions you want to make your message simple and straight forward. A blackberry user may be in the course of multiple activities so may forget your initial question, disregard it, loose it during scrolling, or be interrupted while they are reading your precious message.

The second component, leading with an easy question, is something I have learned slowly over the years. If you sent a hard question as your first communication you risk having your intended recipient pretend they had not read your message and therefore defer your question until a later time. By starting with an easy question you allow them to provide you with a quick response. This quick response acknowledges that they are present. To not respond to the follow up question you intend to send immediately once you receive their response would then be quite rude so you have in effect forced them to focus.

Try the rules out and hopefully you will have success getting the answers you need and avoid banging your head against the wall.

This article was written by buyingvalue. If you enjoyed this article, please vote for it by clicking the Buzz Up! button below.


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