Earlier this week I got a good email tip from a participant in the Writing Tune-Up. When I asked for additional rules for email etiquette and efficiency, Tom offered this one:
If you have a deadline within a few days, don’t just communicate it in email. Pick up the phone to be sure the person gets your message.
Tom had a specific reason for his suggestion. Unlike much of the business world, he is not tethered to a computer or a BlackBerry. He works out of doors, and he may check his email only once a week. Not once an hour, not even once a day–once a week!
Do you write to someone like Tom? If so, adjust your expectations and your behavior. If you have a deadline on Friday, don’t even think of emailing him or her your request on Friday morning or Thursday afternoon. Pick up the phone to be sure you get through, and try that a few days earlier. (Of course, this is always good advice when you have a deadline looming.)
It all gets back to understanding your audience, including those untethered readers.