Instant messaging

Say Hi and wait for a reply

Maybe it’s that time of the year as we reflect but I remembered another annoyance to add the my first – Ask a question, then keep talking!

This one is with instant messaging!

Have you ever got back to your desk to find an instant message where the only message is “Hi” that’s been sitting there for 20 minutes?!

Somedays this drives me mad! Why can’t the person ask the question at the same time without having to wait for a reply!

This isn’t a phone call where you have to wait for an answer before you can begin. If there’s no reply after a few seconds continue to ask your question or say whatever you need to. Then when they’re free they can quickly see what you’re asking and respond.

By waiting for an initial reply you’re not only delaying getting a response to what you need but you’re forcing the other person to go through intros they usually don’t have time for before they can get this interruption they hadn’t planned for out the way!

I’ve had one chat where they started with “Hi”, I saw the message after 15 minutes when back at my desk for a brief moment, when I got back later it was “How are you?” But I needed to be somewhere else so it was only after over an hour that the actual question was asked. I could have responded in my first reply if they asked the question without waiting.

It’s not being rude, it’s using the technology for what it’s intended for. This is an instant messaging anti-pattern!

How do you change this? By asking those people who like the long intro questions to stop….in a polite way of course! I’ve had to ask quite a few people over time not to wait before asking a question and it does make a big difference, they even understand that too when I explain why.

I’m just putting it out there…





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