Respond Right Away

“I read this.  It was good.  Thank You.”  A friend of mine send me these three sentences in response to an email.  I could have been disappointed because she was so short in her reply, but I felt grateful for her email – because she responded right away.

Jen, my friend and partner in a chinatown guest house project, was really good at getting back to people as soon as they emailed a request.  Twenty-first century communication, she’d call her method, but really she knew that when people don’t get a response in twenty-four hours or less, they start looking elsewhere.  Even if she wasn’t sure about availability or we already booked she’d make sure to say so in a pleasant and time-efficient manner.

Do you want to go out for ice cream? Who doesn’t! See, answering quickly is simple.

Challenging questions can seem to require more time.   Like when there’s a job offer you’re not sure about, a press inquiry that seems challenging or an invitation you are hesitant to accept.  But letting time delay your response can mean  confusion not clarity; without direct answers, people tend to fill in the blanks.

No smart phone? Set aside a time once a day to get back to people who contacted you since the last time you checked. If the email is harder to write than the time you have allotted, just write what you can. Even in difficult moment, sharing some part of what you think can be more important than how exactly you answer.







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