Categories
Musings

Communication

Quality communication is a key component to any support endeavor. You will always need to be able to convey the idea you are trying to present to another person, or persons, and how you communicate will be of utmost importance.

As a continued theme, working remotely you will most likely be using some sort of communication “tool” with your team that provides audio, video, and text channels. This post will mostly focus on the text aspects and some considerations when using it.

First off, “text has no tone” is a bit of a mantra to remember. When you are typing your message to another person try to remember to be clear and concise in the information you are sharing. Also remember, there is no body language to convey any extra emphasis and no real means to add emphasis like physically leaning in or raising your voice to animate the conversation (there are some formatting tricks you might consider but for the most part think simple monospace plain lettering as what the person will ultimately see).

Also to note, mind your language! You are typing a message, it’s not like you can accidentally drop an f-bomb into the conversation and carry on — if you type it and hit send it’s mostly going to be a done deal and there for all to see that have access to your sent message.

Take a moment to read (and re-read) the message you have written before hitting the send button. Aside from any poor choice of, or inappropriate, words you should be re-checking your spelling and grammar as well. Some things like blatant spelling and grammar errors or unprofessional language can both distract the reader as well as affect the reputation you are representing (yours and the company if writing to customers). Of course, knowing your audience is the caveat to this, if having a chit-chat is expected/wanted by the other person then it might be best to use that approach and have the content of the message much more loosely guarded.

In my personal opinion, there is no reason whatsoever to use inappropriate language (i.e.: f-bombs, etc.) in text communication. Take the time to find a better way to explain the idea you are trying to share and find better ways to accentuate these ideas… even if that means using more socially acceptable, business-friendly terms that convey the same meaning as a frakking 5hi7-storm f-bomb might.

One last point to ponder, when you are writing someone, pretend they are on the other side of your workspace and consider what reaction they might have if you actually said what you typed instead.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Categories
Musings

WE ARE NOT IN THE SAME BOAT

I heard it said that we are all in the same boat, but it’s not like that. We are in the same storm, but not in the same boat. Your ship could be shipwrecked and mine might not be. Or vice versa.

For some, quarantine is optimal: a moment of reflection, of re-connection, easy in flip flops, with a cocktail or coffee. For others, this is a desperate financial & family crisis.

In some homes, a sole occupant faces endless loneliness. In others, family members are getting peace, rest, and time with each other — while in still others, quarantine means an increased danger due to domestic violence.

With the $600 weekly increase in unemployment, some are bringing in more money to their households than they were working. Others are working more hours for less money due to pay cuts or loss in sales.

Some families of 4 just received $3400 from the stimulus while other families of 4 saw $0.

Some were concerned about getting a certain candy for Easter while others were concerned if there would be enough bread, milk, and eggs for the weekend.

Some want to go back to work because they don’t qualify for unemployment and are running out of money. Others want to kill those who break the quarantine.

Some are home spending 2-3 hours/day helping their child with online schooling while others are spending 2-3 hours/day to educate their children on top of a 10-12 hour workday.

Some have experienced the near-death of the virus, some have already lost someone from it and some are not sure if their loved ones are going to make it. Others don’t believe this is a big deal.

Some have faith in God and expect miracles during 2020. Others say the worst is yet to come.

So, friends, we are not in the same boat. We are going through a time when our perceptions and needs are completely different. Each of us will emerge, in our own way, from this storm. It is very important to see beyond what is seen at first glance. Not just looking, actually seeing.

We are all on different ships during this storm experiencing a very different journey.

Unknown.

An inspiration to take to heart when working with others, especially when you are trying to help. You might be working with someone facing challenges you are not and this may have an effect on them.

Photo by Robin Spielmann on Unsplash

Categories
Musings

Unhappy Customers Are Opportunities

Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.

Bill Gates

Although most will find an unhappy customer to be a pain point or stressor of some sort I always try to find the “silver-lining” in their cloud.

Be grateful for “unhappy customers” as they are the ones who care enough to actually tell you how they feel when they do not like something. This type of feedback is invaluable as they are taking the time to let you know something is not working. It might be something just not working for them, or it could be something affecting everyone using your product.

Granted, the “not working” can also be for any number of reasons ranging from utterly broken to functional misunderstandings although in all of these cases there will be something to be learned.

You might not have been aware something was broken, it could be an edge-case scenario that was not considered in testing. If there is a “functional misunderstanding” it could simply be a matter of improving and/or adding documentation to explain what the function does and what to expect when using it.

Taking the time to understand why a custom is unhappy will always provide a benefit even if it is nothing more than how to better address the feedback they are sharing.

Photo by Marc Wieland on Unsplash

Categories
Musings

Move Forward

You may never reach the horizon and you will never get any closer if you don’t move towards it.

A lofty or far reaching goal is never a bad thing as long as you make an effort towards reaching it; and, if that horizon is too far away, set a goal that is closer but always remember the horizon will always be out there.

I’m not saying set an unreachable goal, what I’m saying is do not be complacent in your goals. Always look forward, always dream, always have a goal! There is nothing more important than having something to look forward to.

Stop to enjoy the wins along the way, all those in-between goals you set from you to the horizon but don’t just stop there. Give yourself the opportunity to move forward, to excel, to improve, to be better… and try to help those around you do the same.

Remember, everyone’s horizon is a bit different and for some it’s a bit closer and for others it’s a bit farther away and although in reality it’s all the same horizon everyone perceives it a bit differently. Helping another to get to their goals between themselves and their horizon will ultimately help you reach your goals between you and your horizon… and remember to move forward.

Categories
Musings

You Have To Start Somewhere

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.

Walt Disney

Isn’t that a wonderful idea… begin doing. Sometimes it’s not really about what you are doing it is simply about doing something. Ideally you will have a focus on a goal although what’s more important, the goal? or, working on something that will produce results?

I would say one of the hardest, and easiest, things to do is something you have not done before. It’s hard, or perhaps “scary” because of the unknown although in that same vein is exciting and easy because you will be learning something new and doing something different. Will you get it right? Will you succeed? Will you reach your expectations? First, just begin doing… then worry about these questions.

The great thing about begin doing, you can always re-frame the questions along the way… what’s stopping you?

You.

Don’t let yourself be your biggest obstacle… begin doing and then figure out where you’re going. You can always talk about the experience along the way and most definitely share it afterward.

Image by Domenic Hoffmann from Pixabay