No Hi - or - How to ask your co-worker for help
This is how many requests from and to your co-workers look like in Slack/Teams today:
- Co-worker, 10:05, Hi!
- You, 10:06, Hi!
- Co-worker, 10:15, I have one question
- You, 10:25, Sure
- Co-worker, 10:30, I can't find your presentation
- You, 10:31, Which one?
- Co-worker, 10:36, From last week
- You, 10:37, From the team review?
- Co-worker, 10:42, Yes, this one
- You, 10:43, You can find it by searching for "Review calendar week 40" in our intranet
- Co-worker, 10:45, OK
- You, 14:00, Did you find it?
- Co-worker, 15:00, No
That is a lot of lost time on both sides to get one link. Let's look at what went wrong and how to improve upon that knowledge.
Questions & (non-exclusive) answers
- What went wrong?
- Business communication is always goal oriented, this inquiry is not
- "Hi" does not ask any question or give context
- "I have one question", 10 min later, does not reveal the goal either
- Information and context is coming in small bits with huge time gaps in between
- What could the sender do differently?
- Start with the full specific request: "Can you please share the presentation from your team review from last week with me?"
- Skip what you might consider as friendly chat: "Hi" … "I have a question"
- What could the recipient do differently
- After the first "Hi", ask instantly "How can I help?"
- Send a link to the presentation instead of the name
- Start with your goal ("Can you send me a presentation?")
- Give as much information as possible about what you want ("The presentation your team gives Friday 12th about the product updates")
- Show your priority of this request ("Important/Urgent: I need the presentation to get some numbers for our next sprint where we want to tackle a similar topic")
- Give the recipient a deadline ("Can I get a response by next Wednesday, EOD?") - and give the recipient some time to work on it
- Let the recipient choose the medium ("You can send me the presentation as file or link or if you want to give me some verbal context, feel free to set up a short call")
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