Tag Archives: email

8 Ways to Communicate Better

Like a lot of people who stare at screens all day, I prefer quick, clear communication. My husband tells me that I have a PhD in straight forward, and I tend to agree. I wish everyone had the same degree, but most have not mastered simple communication rules.

I should be able to do everything with Siri.
I should be able to do everything with Siri.

Case in point, I needed to make a dermatologist’s appointment, so I looked at their web page. My primary doctor’s web page has an option to make appointments online, as nature intended. I figured the dermatologist office would be the same. Nope. So, as though I were living a hundred years ago, I called the doctor’s office. Of course, as is the custom, a robot answered the phone and I had to push 3 to make an appointment, which took me straight to a voicemail message where I was told to expect a call back in 48 hours. WHAT? They never called back, so I emailed the office. They answered my email with a “call us to make an appointment.” I gave up and chose another doctor.

Why the heck do they have email? And why have voicemail if you don’t return calls. It’s like I’m living in a Genesis song. After this experience, and others like it, I decided that a little refresher course on communication in the Internet age was necessary, and here it is.

Free of charge, I present you with Rules for Communication in the 21st Century:

  1. Answer your email. I can’t tell you how many times I have waited days or weeks for a reply to a simple email. If I ignored someone for 3 days, or more, I’d be fired.
  2. Reply to the person in the same mode of communication. If someone texts you, text back. If someone emails you, use that handy dandy reply button. Do not call someone in response to an email or text.
  3. In fact, just DON’T call anyone. Phones are not for phoning anymore. I’m sure the telephone was a huge deal in Alexander Graham Bell’s time. Now, it is just annoying. It is a device used by telemarketers and people who have not mastered Facebook, email, or texting. I can’t think of a time when the phone has not been an intrusion. It’s loud and demanding. You can hear everyone’s background noise on it, too. If I want to hear Darth Vader breathing, I will watch Star Wars.
  4. If you are a business, make sure your web site is actually useful. There is no need to order or pay for anything over the phone. If you own a business and your web site is not set up to accept payments, open a Pay Pal account. If you own a business and have no idea what I am talking about you need to be drop kicked into the new millennium.
  5. Warn People before you visit. For the love of all that is holy, DO NOT just show up at someone’s house. Dropping by was rude in the 80’s, and I’m pretty sure it’s punishable by death now. If I’m not expecting you, I won’t answer the door. Text first. Don’t call. Text.
  6. Learn how to spell! You are not writing a song for Prince; you are communicating with other educated human beings. I will climb through the interwebs and jack slap you if you send me nonsense like, “R U going 2.”
  7. USE your out of office reply. If you will not be checking or replying to email, set up an out of office reply telling people how to reach you. If the answer is they CAN’T reach you for a while, that is fine, too, just tell them. Include a date when they can expect a reply.
  8. USE your voicemail announcement. If you can’t answer the phone, tell callers that. Direct them to the best way to contact you rather than just tell them you’ll call them back. Because if you’re like the kind folks at the dermatologist’s office, you won’t really call anyone back.

It seems so simple, but communication is a struggle for a lot of people. Times they are a changing. The telephone is not just for talking. We can communicate in a number of ways. Learning to use them all effectively can save you time and aggravation, mostly aggravation.

Did I miss any?  Please add your tips for better communication in the comments section.  I love hearing from you.

This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post.

What’s Your Poison?

This would NOT be in hell.
This would NOT be in hell.

I’m not talking about intoxicants here.  Believe me, everyone has one, whether it’s alcohol, carbs, fair food, or bad TV.  I’m talking about the thing that actually bothers you like no other.  In other words, what is your own idea of hell?  

 As a non-Christian/Buddhist/Ancient Astronaut Theorist, I don’t believe in hell. So, no, I’m not afraid I will go to hell.  : )   On the other hand, as an academic, I’m able to look outside of my own belief system and understand other ways of thinking.  So, I have frequent conversations with others about religion, politics, and sushi without having actual arguments.  The other day, I was talking to my husband about the theory that hell is individualized, meaning it would be different for each person and include the things that bother them here on Earth.  So, I started listing the things that would be in my personal hell.  Here they are in no particular order: 

  •  Screaming infants and toddlers –- Most people goo goo and ga ga over babies.  They love them.  They think they are beautiful.  I think they look like little Buddhist monks in the wrong attire.  Unlike monks, they are loud and way too needy.  I like kids when they can talk and tell me what the heck they want.  Using the restroom alone is also a plus in my book, for them and me. (Parents know what I am talking about here.) I enjoy peace and quiet, and I don’t speak tantrum.
  • Puppies — Puppies are really cute, but when they are not potty trained and hyperactive they create a perfect hell for me. If I wanted to clean up poop, I would have a baby.  At least they start to talk and use the toilet eventually. Plus, truth be told, I am a cat person.  Nothing is cuter than a kitten. 
  • Extroverts in need of constant conversation — I work from home and spend most of my day NOT TALKING, or LISTENING.  I LOVE that.  I like reading and writing. If you need to talk, call your mom.  Send me an email or a text message.
  • Exercise for the sake of exercise — I dream of being skinny, but it’s not going to happen.  Two things stand in my way.  One is a love of salty carbs, and the other is a hatred of exercise for the sake of exercise. Whenever I am on the hamster wheel (elliptical) or exercising along with one of the 30 recorded Gilad episodes on my TV, I’m always thinking of other stuff I have to do, like writing a blog or working on that second novel. Unless I become a farmer or move to a place where I have to walk everywhere, I will stay this sort of medium-fluffy size.  Whatever.
  • Daily meals of odd seafood and mushrooms — I’m a picky eater.  My teenaged son is more open-minded about food than I am.  He and my husband have sushi dates because I refuse to eat “bait.”  Yes, I’ve tried the California roll. I hate that, too.  I also hate mushrooms.  They are slimy and gross and remind me of frogs. 
  •  Reptiles — My personal hell would have bouncing frogs and slithering snakes everywhere.  If an animal doesn’t have fur and a stable body temperature, I’m not interested.
  • Temperature fluctuations — I’m comfortable when it’s about 78 and sunny, with low humidity. Other than that, I’m either hot or cold.
  • Ringing doorbells and other interruptions — I don’t like surprise visits, especially from people who are selling products or religion.  For one, it interrupts my train of thought when I am writing or working on a project of some sort.  Two, it forces me to talk to people.  So, if you’re coming over, text me first.  Don’t call. Ever. 

 So, those are the things that would be in my hell.  What would your hell include? Leave me a comment.  I love hearing from you all, in written form of course.

 

What's Your Poison?

This would NOT be in hell.
This would NOT be in hell.

I’m not talking about intoxicants here.  Believe me, everyone has one, whether it’s alcohol, carbs, fair food, or bad TV.  I’m talking about the thing that actually bothers you like no other.  In other words, what is your own idea of hell?  

 As a non-Christian/Buddhist/Ancient Astronaut Theorist, I don’t believe in hell. So, no, I’m not afraid I will go to hell.  : )   On the other hand, as an academic, I’m able to look outside of my own belief system and understand other ways of thinking.  So, I have frequent conversations with others about religion, politics, and sushi without having actual arguments.  The other day, I was talking to my husband about the theory that hell is individualized, meaning it would be different for each person and include the things that bother them here on Earth.  So, I started listing the things that would be in my personal hell.  Here they are in no particular order: 

  •  Screaming infants and toddlers –- Most people goo goo and ga ga over babies.  They love them.  They think they are beautiful.  I think they look like little Buddhist monks in the wrong attire.  Unlike monks, they are loud and way too needy.  I like kids when they can talk and tell me what the heck they want.  Using the restroom alone is also a plus in my book, for them and me. (Parents know what I am talking about here.) I enjoy peace and quiet, and I don’t speak tantrum.
  • Puppies — Puppies are really cute, but when they are not potty trained and hyperactive they create a perfect hell for me. If I wanted to clean up poop, I would have a baby.  At least they start to talk and use the toilet eventually. Plus, truth be told, I am a cat person.  Nothing is cuter than a kitten. 
  • Extroverts in need of constant conversation — I work from home and spend most of my day NOT TALKING, or LISTENING.  I LOVE that.  I like reading and writing. If you need to talk, call your mom.  Send me an email or a text message.
  • Exercise for the sake of exercise — I dream of being skinny, but it’s not going to happen.  Two things stand in my way.  One is a love of salty carbs, and the other is a hatred of exercise for the sake of exercise. Whenever I am on the hamster wheel (elliptical) or exercising along with one of the 30 recorded Gilad episodes on my TV, I’m always thinking of other stuff I have to do, like writing a blog or working on that second novel. Unless I become a farmer or move to a place where I have to walk everywhere, I will stay this sort of medium-fluffy size.  Whatever.
  • Daily meals of odd seafood and mushrooms — I’m a picky eater.  My teenaged son is more open-minded about food than I am.  He and my husband have sushi dates because I refuse to eat “bait.”  Yes, I’ve tried the California roll. I hate that, too.  I also hate mushrooms.  They are slimy and gross and remind me of frogs. 
  •  Reptiles — My personal hell would have bouncing frogs and slithering snakes everywhere.  If an animal doesn’t have fur and a stable body temperature, I’m not interested.
  • Temperature fluctuations — I’m comfortable when it’s about 78 and sunny, with low humidity. Other than that, I’m either hot or cold.
  • Ringing doorbells and other interruptions — I don’t like surprise visits, especially from people who are selling products or religion.  For one, it interrupts my train of thought when I am writing or working on a project of some sort.  Two, it forces me to talk to people.  So, if you’re coming over, text me first.  Don’t call. Ever. 

 So, those are the things that would be in my hell.  What would your hell include? Leave me a comment.  I love hearing from you all, in written form of course.

 

Answer your email, and don’t call me!

Lately people, mainly businesses, have been irritating me with their total lack of communication knowledge.  Salon/spas seem to be the worst as I have had two experiences with two different salons in different states that just screamed, “We live in the Stone Age.” So, being someone who has worked entirely online since 2005, I figure I should clue everyone in on how humans communicate now.

Rules for communication in the 21st Century:

  1. Answer your email. If I ignored someone for 3 days, or more, I’d be fired.
  2. Reply to the person in the same mode of communication.  If someone texts you, text back.  If someone emails you, use that handy dandy reply button.  Do not call someone in response to an email or text.
  3. Phones are not for phoning anymore.  I’m sure the telephone was a huge deal in Alexander Graham Bell’s time.  Now, it is just annoying.  It is a device used by telemarketers and people who have not mastered Facebook, email, or texting.  I can’t think of a time when the phone has not been an intrusion.  It’s loud and demanding. You can hear everyone’s background noise on it, too.  If I want to hear Darth Vader breathing, I will watch Star Wars.
  4. There is no need to order or pay for anything over the phone.  (I’m talking to you, St. Louis spa!) If you own a business and your web site is not set up to accept payments, open a Pay Pal account.  If you own a business and have no idea what I am talking about you need to be drop kicked into the new millennium.
  5. For the love of all that is holy, DO NOT just show up at someone’s house.  Dropping by was rude in the 80’s, I’m pretty sure it’s punishable by death now.  If I’m not expecting you, I won’t answer the door.  So, there’s one reason to text first.  Don’t call.  Text.

That list ended up being a lot shorter than I thought.  It’s short and sweet, and it should be easy to remember.  If not, we can break into virtual groups and chat about them in a text only environment.

Answer your email, and don't call me!

Lately people, mainly businesses, have been irritating me with their total lack of communication knowledge.  Salon/spas seem to be the worst as I have had two experiences with two different salons in different states that just screamed, “We live in the Stone Age.” So, being someone who has worked entirely online since 2005, I figure I should clue everyone in on how humans communicate now.

Rules for communication in the 21st Century:

  1. Answer your email. If I ignored someone for 3 days, or more, I’d be fired.
  2. Reply to the person in the same mode of communication.  If someone texts you, text back.  If someone emails you, use that handy dandy reply button.  Do not call someone in response to an email or text.
  3. Phones are not for phoning anymore.  I’m sure the telephone was a huge deal in Alexander Graham Bell’s time.  Now, it is just annoying.  It is a device used by telemarketers and people who have not mastered Facebook, email, or texting.  I can’t think of a time when the phone has not been an intrusion.  It’s loud and demanding. You can hear everyone’s background noise on it, too.  If I want to hear Darth Vader breathing, I will watch Star Wars.
  4. There is no need to order or pay for anything over the phone.  (I’m talking to you, St. Louis spa!) If you own a business and your web site is not set up to accept payments, open a Pay Pal account.  If you own a business and have no idea what I am talking about you need to be drop kicked into the new millennium.
  5. For the love of all that is holy, DO NOT just show up at someone’s house.  Dropping by was rude in the 80’s, I’m pretty sure it’s punishable by death now.  If I’m not expecting you, I won’t answer the door.  So, there’s one reason to text first.  Don’t call.  Text.

That list ended up being a lot shorter than I thought.  It’s short and sweet, and it should be easy to remember.  If not, we can break into virtual groups and chat about them in a text only environment.