First let me say, I love hearing from you all. I really do. You are all so passionate and knowledgeable, and you blow me away with your emails and comments. But in addition to all the wonderful readers that contact me here, I also hear from other folks: PR people, authors, editors, marketing people, and on and on, and some of them aren’t such great communicators. I’m not going to pick on them, but I do want to point out a few things they do that we can all learn from.
Being on top of things is great, but when you send me an email, then another one the next day to ask if I got the previous one, then a note on Facebook, then a ping on Skype to find out if I received your emails… you’re pushing it. I get several hundred emails a day, and answer them in the best way possible. I prioritize them, so if you didn’t get a response immediately, give it a day.
Over communicating is just as bad as not being thorough enough because it implies impatience and unwillingness to be respectful.
Spacing on Details
Here’s another favorite scenario. You ask me to schedule a date, and then a week later you’ll send me an email saying, “What are we doing again?” If this happens once in a while, it’s understandable. But if you continually refuse to write things down or remember them, you’re not leaving a good impression. Eventually people will get tired of dealing with you.
Repeatedly Telling Me How Busy You Are
Recently I had someone who asked if she could interview me. Great, I responded, and we agreed on a date that would work, which turned out to be two months in advance. She said she’d get me the questions, but… sigh…. she was so busy.
Being told how busy someone is tends to annoy me. I think it’s because we are all so busy. I don’t know of a single person that isn’t busy. My days are jam packed, too. I feel for people, because I wish we could all slow down, but then again if we are stuck in this mode where we have to bring it up to others, it just wastes more valuable time.
So needless to say a month went by and I still hadn’t received the questions from this woman, but I did get another email that told me… sigh…. she was so busy… sigh… and she would work on the questions and get them to me.
But you guessed it, another month went by, and now we were edging up on the date of the interview. She actually sent me another email to tell me that she normally isn’t so busy… because she’s just so busy…
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But I still hadn’t received the questions. Sure enough, she sent them to me at the last minute, and I had to turn around and answer them right away so I could get them back to her in order for the post to go ahead as scheduled.
I can’t help wondering if she would have just sat down and did the questions (instead of sending emails to tell me how busy she was) that this would have worked out a little better. More than that, now her lack of preparation required me to hurry up and drop other things in order to accommodate her. Not cool.
Sending Me Random Things Not Appropriate to My Blog
It’s pretty obvious that this blog is related to the writing world. The topics are fairly open (anything having to do with running a small business, freelancing, writing, creativity, and the like are all things that work here), but even with that, I get a fair amount of emails that suggest things that aren’t related at all.
I know people are busy, but you’ve got to get to know a blog a little bit before pitching. Right?
I have quite a few people that schedule guest posts or author interviews, but are so unorganized I constantly need to follow up. If I have to repeatedly ask you about where a post is (that you asked me to provide room on my editorial calendar for), then you aren’t doing your job. If you contact me and want me to schedule something for you, I’ll happily do it, but then follow up and don’t make more work for me by forgetting what you asked for.
Those are some of my communication pet peeves. But like anything, I’ve learned from them. When I see myself doing something that would drive me crazy if the tables were turned, I try and mend my ways. What are some of your pet peeves? Have the way people communicated with you changed the way you email people yourself?