When managers text "hi"

If a manager ever texts "hi," "hello," or "hey," without any further context, most people will assume that they're fired. The same goes for "are you around?", "let me know when you get in," and "can we talk?"

If you're a manager, don't text your report "hey" and then wait for them to respond. Get to the point, or we're going to assume the point is very very bad.

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Never just text your reports "hi" | Zapier

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The history of hello
  • What do you say after you pick up the phone? Most people say "hello," and there's a reason for that: phone companies taught people to say it in the 1800s. 
  • The word caught on, in part, because phone books instructed people to begin conversations by saying "hello" as a way to confirm both people were on the line. This habit, and the word, stuck. The medium created a new kind of etiquette.
  • But team chat tools are a different medium than the telephone and require a different kind of etiquette.

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If you actually do need to have a serious (and potentially career-affecting) conversation with someone in a remote context, consider doing it during a regularly scheduled one-on-one session, so there's no pre-conversation anxiety.

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Because text-based messages are different from a phone call, saying "hello" before getting to the point actually makes communication take longer.

This is less efficient than the alternative:

  • You say hello and ask your question.
  • Eventually, the other person answers the question.

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The weirdness of it

Reaching out privately to a colleague can feel weird because making the active decision to initiate a conversation usually creates the expectation that you want something.
So explain why you're reaching out. Always give a reason why you want to talk to someone. Also, send one message, then wait for a response. And if someone continually doesn't respond when you reach out, take the hint.

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The lack of verbal and nonverbal social cues

Any email message we send has the potential to be read in the wrong context, or misinterpreted entirely by the recipient. Even if we have smiley faces in the email, it is no match for actual face-to-face, video, or telephonic conversations, which, apart from our words, also showcase our empathy and earnestness.

Compared to a face-face conversation, an email is just a bunch of words that once sent, are out of our control.

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To better build rapport and counter isolation do the following:

  • smile, tilt your chin lower so you're not looking down on them, and slow down your speech during your video calls, so you come across as being more credible.
  • set a finish time before starting a conversation with someone new to reduce the initial wariness.
  • Be more likable and validate others by listening to them and suspending your ego. Put aside your wish to contribute to the conversation and ask short, open questions like how, when, and why.

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