Some time ago I read an article by Luise Freese (Check her out! Here blog is awesome) about #nohello. And what can I say: It was so enlightening and since then I try to avoid a simple “hello” in a team chat.
Why do I try to do this?
At the moment when I write to a person with just a “hello”, I wait for them to reply. Since the person has no information about what I want from them, they will most likely only reply with “hello” or something similar. But teams chats are asynchronous, this person then waits for me to write again. Only with my next reply does the real communication begin and I would tell my colleague the reason why I wrote to her. That means we have been waiting in two places completely unnecessarily. I once read somewhere this comparison: “That’s like calling someone and then putting them on hold.”
It is important to point out here that my point is not that people should answer chats faster. I am absolutely convinced that teams are always an asynchronous medium and can become syncronous if the people involved write at the same time. But it is absolutely in the spirit of chat communication that it is also ok to wait for an answer. I just want to avoid pointless waiting for everyone.
Therefore here is my tip:
Don’t ping someone with a simple “Hello!” or “How are you?” and wait for them to reply.
Make your message useful by giving context and stating what you need, e.g. “Hi! Can you give me an update on Project ABC?”
This allows the other person to respond directly to me with what I need as soon as they read the message. They don’t have to ask “Hey! What’s this about?” .
Where this rule applies to me as well:
- “Hey, do you have a minute?” – Say right away what it’s about and how long it will take. Example: “Hey, when do you have time so that I can inform you about Project ABC for 15 minutes?” If it’s urgent and you really want to know if the person has time NOW, then try to call the person directly and don’t ask in the chat, because you’re disturbing them with a chat message just as much as with a call. (But this also means that the person on the other end has to maintain their teams status in line with their real activities).
- “Did you read my mail?” – The question is not really if the mail has been read, it is more if the tasks contained in it have been completed. So ask directly.
- “Hi, how are you?” – If I really just feel like a chat to get in touch with someone without an urgent professional connection, I’ll tell them that too. “Hi, I’m just reaching out to chat with you. How was your holiday?”
What should you change?
- Don’t write messages with only a greeting in them, always gives more context.
- Use the Teams status and status message in Microsoft Teams to let everyone know what you are doing and how to reach you.
- Make others aware of it.
- Welcome to the #nohello club!