Communication for startup teams: When should you interrupt someone?
Want to reduce unproductive interruptions in the workplace, and improve the impression you make on others? Just avoid lazy communication, which basically means: think before you speak.
A few days ago, someone at worked asked me to email him some numbers from Google Analytics. So I clicked my way around Analytics to collect these numbers, when suddenly it occured to me: "He's got access to this Google Analytics account. He could do that without my help. Why am I doing this work for him?"
So I emailed him and said: "Hey, you have access to GA, you can do this yourself." His response: "Oh shit, yeah, you're right. Ok, I'll do that."
Just be respectful of other people's time.
Can you give me some feedback on this? (And do it for me too?)
Another example. A sales guy asks me to review his sales email. I say sure. I get that email in my inbox, make a few comments, click send.
"Hey Steli, thanks for the comments, how exactly do you want me to shorten the email?"
Well, I described in the email what he should shorten.
So I respond: "Did you actually read the email? What did I say in that email?"
He responds: "You said the second and third paragraph could be a sentence instead of a paragraph, and I should take out xyz."
I respond: "Well, have you tried doing that?"
He responds: "Hm, no, ok, I will try this now."
Well, why not try it first?
Don't ask other people to do things for you if you could do them yourself, if all it takes for you is to think it through for a moment.
In both cases, the person wasn't a lazy person. It was just an impulsive reaction.
It's good to reach out to others if you need help to get something done. But every time you do that, you're withdrawing from an imaginary bank account of favors. You want to spend those favors you withdraw on situations where you really do need help
Should you interrupt someone?
Next time before you interrupt someone's day to help you out about something, pause and mentally go through this process:
Avoid lazy communication. It will make you and your teammates a lot more effective, and people will pay more attention and be more willing to help you when you actually need it.
It's little things like this that make or break your personal brand.