Technology enables us to be more mobile, accessing the information that we need whenever we need it on whichever device we choose. However, this can be a challenge and time-consuming to keep up with all of your contacts on all channels. According to Lyndsey Kramer, our Director of Business Development, “Last week, I had a business lunch meeting and the woman I was with left me a voicemail at work, on my cell phone, and emailed me to make sure that I received her message that she needed to cancel last minute. Sometimes plans change. Luckily, I check all of my messages often so I received the message multiple times, but those who are in meetings or forget to check all communication channels may miss business opportunities or may arrive at a meeting that is no longer taking place.” Or, maybe, realistically, it's just impossible to constantly know what's happening on your Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest channels while keeping track of texts and voicemails and emails from personal and professional contacts.
Do people even listen to voicemails anymore? It takes that much more of a second to get to your voicemails and with so many people in so many directions demanding our attention, it's more rare for us to pause to - listen.
And, what if we're the one someone's waiting on a reply from? We recently contributed to an article featured on ABC News, Fox News, and The Today Show online about the challenge of sending and receiving messages in a wired world. Check it out below! Special thanks to Martha Irvine from the Associated Press for reporting on this relevant topic and including us in the story.
Our Director of Business Development, Lyndsey Kramer, and our Content/Social Media Manager, Rebecca Otis, demonstrate the world of communication overload and offer tips on how to manage it.
So we can't control the people in our lives that aren't responding on demand, but here are some tips for making sure you're not the one that’s tough to get ahold of:
- Choose channels and commit. If you’re going to set up a new email address, a Twitter handle, or a separate business line, make sure you will be regularly attentive to it. It can be frustrating to get to someone’s voicemail box when it is full.
- Connect the dots. If you prefer to have a separate business line or email address to keep messages organized, make sure your business line forwards to your personal cell phone or email address so you won’t miss an important message and the person trying to contact you can still use the phone number or email address you prefer.
- Ask for the primary. When making a new business contact, ask for their preferred method of contact and mark it in your email address book or phone contacts list. That way, when you need to get ahold of someone, you can reach them where they’re likely to be.
- Use downtime to stay in touch. Use bathroom breaks at lunch, time on the train, or in the doctor’s office to catch up on your messages and make sure you receive the urgent messages.
- Set up auto-reply. If you’re always on the go and often hard to reach, set up an auto-reply in your email to let writers know the best way to reach you or to include IMPORTANT in the subject line of their email. Same goes for voicemail, or guide them to the most direct way to contact you if an emergency.
- Find a Hold Down the Fort-er. If you work in an office with an office manager, intern, or assistant, and are often at meetings, create a system so they can send you important messages to the most direct channel. (Make sure this is part of their responsibilities).
- Reserve Text for Urgent Items. Consider only using text for urgent/immediate items – if a client contacts you via text non-urgently, respond with an email or phone call to keep the system. That way, when you receive texts, you’ll know they are important.
How do you manage messages coming from all angles?