Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Trying Communications - If You Want to Talk to Me...

I had an awkward conversation in a bar the other day. My friend showed me the litany of text messages she received over the weekend - a weekend when she was supposed to be "off" relaxing. Since I am Little Miss Know-It-All I proceeded to tell her that she needed to "set boundaries" with people so that her iPhone doesn't become - actual words - "a form of slavery". My friend, having a PHD in something relating to mental health started evaluating my statement and probing me with questions after I announced that I needed to publish a set of rules for people to use to contact me. "Well, don't you like to talk to your friends on the phone?" Me, "No. Well, sometimes. Well I prefer Skype because my cell signal isn't that good half the time". Friend, "But don't you think it's important to have a real conversation with people?" Me, "Of course, but calls come at weird times, most of my friends are in California, and besides I like to have good voice quality and Skype works better for that. And I like text messages because It's just easier." Friend, "I have both a mobile phone and a land line." By the way, my bar friend is 70. 

For two weeks I've been trying to have a meeting with a friend / client who lives in San Francisco. She caveat-ed the meeting by stating in an email "I'm a technophobe and I hate my iPhone". Ah the old compensating for being disorganized with technology excuse. My friend, used to work in tech.

Another friend of mine who actually worked for Bill Gates and Mark Andreason, as a PR expert, also gets tried by communications. She shut down her Facebook account because she was phished more than once. She had to drop her Yahoo mail for the same reason. Trying phish.

But back to the bar and my set of rules...

If you want to reach me, please do the following:

  1. The best time to reach me by phone, Skype, and email is during regular weekday business hours
  2. I am on the East Coast.
  3. Text messages are my preferred form of communication. I almost always notice these in "real time". 
  4. Emails are my next preferred communication method. Please allow at least 1 business day before expecting a reply from me.
  5. Sometimes I won't reply to emails for several days. If I'm in "design mode" working on a deadline I won't talk on the phone or even glance at my email. Deadlines take priority, and I can't design and communicate at the same time.
  6. I do not check email in the evenings or weekends.
  7. It's quite possible I won't check emails or the phone after 2pm during weekdays (especially if I'm slow, as I can be running errands or gardening or cooking, or if it's Friday). 
  8. Ideally, people will schedule a time to talk, via email or text message,  if they want to chat on the phone or on Skype.  This is because I work from home and my schedule can vary a lot.
  9. Truthfully, I only expect emergency phone calls in the evenings or weekends so if it's not an emergency please text me first before I start to have a panic attack.
  10. Never ever call me after 9pm unless you want to tell me about A) an awesome party I need to go to that evening. or B) You're pregnant or engaged or suicidal and you need to talk.
  11. Recruiters who don't respect boundaries, and call me at 5pm to talk about their client, get black listed. 
  12. Clients who email too much, or who don't actually read my emails, or who send horrible, or disorganized email, I have to let go. 

Ridiculous, huh? Balanced? I'm getting there.