In this post I’ll write about using separate profiles for doing different duties. In many instances, you can be much more effective by having separate profiles for different activities. This creates the “head space” necessary for an effective “segmented duty” workflow. If you are in a large or corporate environment, you are unlikely to be allowed (or you’ll be absolutely forbidden) to do this particular hack. Smaller environments, however can benefit mightily from this type of setup.
Sorry, folks. This file is too big with screen captures for me to upload (WordPress is picky).
Send me a quick email with the word “effective startup screens-profiles” in the subject line and I’ll send you a Dropbox link.
EMAIL AND TEXT ADDENDUM
Let me state again: I am NOT against email and texting. There are specific instances where these technologies are absolutely critical to good communications.
Let’s Start with email.
Email is really useful as a “paper trail”, but we’ve been taught to do it wrong. Here’s the example we used in The Order of Communications: Part 1 – Face to Face, but within a full scenario.
Instead of sending an email (which because it’s only words, with no context) and if you’re in the same building, or on the same floor as the person, first try a phone call “Are you available right now? May I come and see you about Product Y?” If they’re available, get up, go get a cup of coffee, and walk over to the other person’s office or desk or cubicle (you’re not getting enough exercise anyway) and go talk to the person (context rich communication) for three minutes instead of sending that email.
If you must have an email “paper trail”, then after you’ve had your talk, send a VERY brief “meeting minutes” to the person, CC’d to His boss, your boss and anybody else involved in whatever you were discussing. One piece of email versus 20. That email is now a paper trail, that is mostly trail, and no paper.
Now a text example:
Say for instance that a person you need to speak to is travelling. Request by way of text, a phone call. If that person is unable to get a call in, text and / or may be your only recourse, but NEVER rely solely on a text. ALWAYS try for the face-to-face or phone call. Context rich communications are what we’re after!
Back to email:
Say for example you have a LOT to say regarding Project X. Do you type a 3 page email? You’d better not!
Don’t you EVER send anyone (especially your boss) a 3 page email! Don’t you EVER give your boss HOMEWORK!
Instead, send the BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front), and a link to a document that you made (with all the data, pictures, etc.) in a secured shared space. If your recipient wants to view the whole thing, it’s on THEM to do so.
I think I’ve given you enough to think about for now.
EMAIL AND TEXT
Now we come to the least effective human communications: Email and Text.
Let me start by first saying that I am not against email and texting. They are valid communication methods, and have specific merits and uses that I will delve into in the next post.
Email and text are extremely efficient for the person sending them (you can send 1,000,000 emails in a second), and extremely inefficient for the people receiving them. They are context poor (you have no idea what frame of mind, or emotional state the person that drafted that email was in when they sent it). They are such poor human communications that we needed to invent emoji’s and emoticons, and apply lots of uppercase letters and extra punctuation just to try and force some humanity into a communication that is completely flat. Unnecessarily, email almost always “feels” angry. Texting “feels” friendlier, but is still overused. Email and text are asynchronous, half-duplex, and context poor communications.
Next week: The Order of Communications: Part 5 – Email and Text Addendum
I’m pretty certain that you are going to hate hearing this, but the next best communication in The Order of Communications is a voicemail.
We need to leave better voicemails with something for the other person to do. Don’t leave the voicemail that my mother leaves: “Hi, give me a call when you have a chance.” There are only two pieces of information in that type of voicemail: a person called you; and they want to talk to you. This may be a hangover from earlier days, when the boss had his door open, (with the volume cranked up), vomiting out volumes of “Let’s meet for golf” and such, essentially showing off his “answering machine”. Nobody wanted to hear that, and so when their turn came with the new voicemail systems, people would leave super short, ineffective messages.
A much better VM message would be: “Hi Joe, this is Melissa Johnson at Vaulter Corporation. I just talked to my subcontractor Dave Smith at Fillibuster about the XYZ project, and he says he still needs more details about your Linker product. Could you generate a product specification PDF that I can send it to him please? Thank you so much, and I look forward to seeing you next week when I’m in Cincinatti!”.
That’s better, isn’t it?
Practice a couple of times if you need to, before actually recording it. Voicemail is an asynchronous, half-duplex communication (meaning it’s a one-at-a-time): I leave one, you leave one, I leave one, you leave one. All the verbal meta-data is still there, and so it’s still considered context rich.
Next week: The Order of Communications: Part 4 – Email & Text
THE PHONE CALL
In the Order of Communications, the next best human communication (after face-to-face contact of course) is a phone call. It’s still considered full duplex: I can hear you, you can hear me; We can talk over each other, and still understand each other.
You can still hear the intonation and inflection in each other’s voices. If you’re spending lots of (recommended) face-to-face time with the person, you can even tell over the phone if she’s rolling her eyes, or wearing her sarcastic face, by the way she says the words. A phone call is still a context rich communication, and worthy of our attention.
Next week: The Order of Communications: Part 3 – Voice Mail
Many of the problems we face in modern business are directly related to poor communications. These communications can be improved by some simple tweaks, that will have you spending more time working on what’s really important, and having more time to actually think!
WHY DO I HAVE SO MUCH EMAIL?
I can’t tell you how many times I have seen 20 (or more) instances of the SAMEemail message being shuffled around from user to user, with no resolution. I’m sure you’ve seen lots of that too. The idea that “It’s not my problem now, it’s in someone else’s inbox.” runs rampant. We all do way too much email, especially internally (within the same company).
Recently, I’ve also read some advice stating not to put anything into an email that could be considered “volatile”. Anything(and by inference, everything) has the possibility to go volatile! It’s always better to have context in allcircumstances.
The Order of Communications is an effective method of building trust and eliminating too much email (especially internally, within the same company, building, or floor). Some of the push-back I routinely field is that “Email is our number one form of communication here.1“ and “It’s our paper trail.2“ These concerns will be addressed in this post!
I also get push-back about efficiency vs. effectiveness. If it was all about efficiency, then we’d be talking as fast as humanly possible. Efficiency is for machines. There is some crossover between efficiency and effectiveness, but once your computer processes are figured out, then we can deal with helping people to be more effective, freeing up time to THINK. A great side benefit of generating less email, is much less email being received from people replying.
Make less email, get less email. Get back to work on what you are being paid to do.
There are certainly tricks and systems for processing lots of email, but lets start with The Order of Communications, to get the total count down.
FACE-TO-FACE 1The number one, best (most effective) human communication is face-to-face. Trust is built one person at a time, face-to-face. This is not to say that trust cannot be built one person to many; It CAN, but it’s much harder to speak to a group about personal things, beyond the “How are you doing?” and “Nice to see you.”.
In general, we feel better about ourselves and others when we visit face-to-face.
Face-to-face conversations release oxytocin (a feel good hormone) that promotes trust. By building trust, we start to develop the thing that we never bring to business with us: Empathy.
Empathy allows us to put ourselves in the other person shoes, and realize that: No, Fred likely didn’t do that on purpose. It was probably an accident.
Face-to-face communication is context rich. It’s full-duplex (Meaning that I can talk over you, you can talk over me; we can both hear each other, and we can both understand each other), and even if one person whispers and the other can’t hear all the words, they can still read the other persons lips. Face-to-face communication is full of nonverbal data; I can see you roll your eyes, I can see you put a sarcastic look on your face. All emotions and body language are included.
Instead of sending an email (which because it’s only words, with no context) and if you’re in the same building, or on the same floor as the person, get up, go get a cup of coffee, and walk over to the other person’s office or desk or cubicle (you’re not getting enough exercise anyway) and go talk to the person for three minutes instead of sending that email.
2If you must have an email “paper trail”, then after you’ve had your talk, send a VERY brief “meeting minutes” to the person, CC’d to His boss, your boss and anybody else involved in whatever you were discussing. One piece of email versus 20. That email is now a paper trail, that is mostly trail, and no paper.
Skype / Webex / Facetime / Cisco UMI or some other video communications (if there is plenty of bandwidth), can still be considered a full duplex, and context rich face to face communication. All human emotions and visual metadata (facial expressions) are available. If you don’t have the bandwidth however, there will be plenty of buffering, latency and packet loss and a general feeling of discomfort and annoyance.
Next week: The Order of Communications: Part 2 – The Phone Call
Craig Ferguson (his writers) figured it out:
We Deify Youth
After watching and listening to this monologue, I’ve realized that Craig, (et al), is absolutely right. Beyond that, there is the implication that, living long enough to be old isn’t a reward anymore. It used to be much, MUCH harder to get over the age of 50!
Honestly, white hair and beards are still revered in older cultures, but that’s changing too with globalization.
Living to be older is actually the natural goal, but we’ve corrupted it. Now, even if you do everything “right” and manage to reach old age (an objective opinion as to what is old, let’s say 70), you can still be “Behind the 8 ball” (screwed!).
Aren’t we all trying to get OLDER?
If employed (or even unemployed), start your side-business NOW!
Start saving money on your taxes on things you are already using (Internet, cell phone service, software, etcetera). Then if, and/or when you have no W2 employment, either from being fired or downsized (or the new and clever marketing phrase “workforce reduction”), you’ll have something to grow!
If you have enough clients that you can voluntarily leave, even better!
If you are in school, don’t spend too much money on it (you’ll put yourself in debt for half a million dollars! Really, do the math…). Get enough education that you feel confident enough to start a business, only acquiring enough information and confidence in your abilities. If you can get these things and experiences elsewhere, that’s fine!
This has NOTHINGto do with being degreed (which is a different game)!
Find something you like and/or are competent to do, and become the “expert” in that field. That way, you become the “go to” person for that specialty, and can command a lot of money for your products and/or services. You may need to do this several times, for many projects. Eventually, something will stick, and you’ll be the person everyone wants to talk to and hear from.
I can’t emphasize this enough:STAY IN CLOSE COMMUNICATION with friends, colleagues and vendors from school, past jobs, projects and contracts. When one of your friends or colleagues makes it big, they will remember that you were on their side before they went large. If and when YOU make it big, you’ll need people that you know and trust.
Be friends, and stay in touch with people that are experts in what THEY do! It is easier than ever these days, using LinkedIN, Facebook, texting, email, etcetera. Later, I may post on how to do this from Evernote and other mobile applications.
Work your “career” as a series of projects. Successful or not, you will learn from each experience, making you worth more in terms of getting it right. I wish I had worked my early career this way. Alas, it’s not too late to get it right!
That’s all I have for now. If I think of anything else, I’ll post “Part 2”. Please post back (the contact form at the bottom) for any omissions or deletions that I may have missed.
Next week: The Order of Communications: Part 1 – Face to Face