Author Topic: S/O Calling and Emailing on the same subject  (Read 2803 times)

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Arila

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S/O Calling and Emailing on the same subject
« on: March 06, 2014, 02:15:54 PM »
So, in another thread, someone mentioned a pet peeve about people who email something, then call or stop by in person to tell them about it. It seemed to be quite accepted that this was rude, annoying, or both. I do sometimes (but not always) do this under certain circumstances. Do I need to consider modification?

- The question is urgent, usually requiring an answer within hours - longer than the typical email response time. (And high in priority for both the sender and receiver, this is not ever a case of "a lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine" I usually speak with them asap after identifying the right person, and/or gathering the data)

- They are not expecting/watching for the question

- I need to provide data/information which cannot be communicated verbally, such as a sketch, photo or spreadsheet of data.


So, I need to email for the data communication, but I like to follow up with a call to make sure that a) they are in the office b) they know about the task & urgency, c) the question has been clearly communicated and deliverables expected in response are understood/agreed (we don't have time for misunderstandings and re-dos).


I do usually call and then email the required data rather than the other way around. Does that soften the blow at all?

TootsNYC

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Re: S/O Calling and Emailing on the same subject
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2014, 02:19:33 PM »
I think your plan makes sense.

I often "double-team" people when I can't wait for the info, even if it doesn't have the data-dense condition you gave.

But I usually say, "I sent you an email as well, so you can just delete it."

So they don't think I'm just blathering at them.

Or "I sent you an email with this detailed info, and I'm calling just to be sure it doesn't get lost in your box."

I even sometimes say, "I'll send you an email recap of this, so you'll have it for reference." Or I'll ask if they want it. Or I'll include someone in a CC:, and then usually say: "sending this by email so I can loop Sharon in."

But in all those cases, there's an acknowledgement of the duplication, and the duplication has a specific purpose.

lowspark

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Re: S/O Calling and Emailing on the same subject
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2014, 02:22:44 PM »
I don't see any problem if there is an urgency involved. Call to say, "urgent situation here" with a brief summary, and then say, "I'm sending an email with all the details, and I need an answer by x time" or some such.

I also often put "urgent" or "please respond asap" or something similar after the normal title in the subject line. That helps give a heads up to the receiver that they ought to give it their immediate attention.

goldilocks

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Re: S/O Calling and Emailing on the same subject
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2014, 02:23:29 PM »
Yes, it was my pet peeve - but I do agree there are exceptions.   

Sometimes I'll forward an email to my boss, but the explanation of why I forwarded this is just too long to mail, so I'll call him.   He needs the info in the mail, but he also needs my explanation.

My issue is more with the chronic people.  I work with 2 people that appear in my office door at least 2X per day to say "I just sent you an email on subject X"   Not that it is urgent or they need to add something, they just feel the need to tell me that they sent me an email.   Every time.   And I'm not behind on my emails, so it's not like if they don't tell me I'll never see it.   

Deetee

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Re: S/O Calling and Emailing on the same subject
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2014, 02:24:16 PM »
I email things to people that are sitting right next to me in conversation.

So like Toots said. When both the email and the verbal communication serve a purpose it is a useful tool.

Arila

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Re: S/O Calling and Emailing on the same subject
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2014, 02:30:11 PM »
OK, Phew.

I'm always a bit sensitive about it, so I always reserve it for the super urgent stuff where there's an air of "whatever it takes to get it done" and "all hands on deck"

lowspark

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Re: S/O Calling and Emailing on the same subject
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2014, 02:41:42 PM »
Yes, it was my pet peeve - but I do agree there are exceptions.   

Sometimes I'll forward an email to my boss, but the explanation of why I forwarded this is just too long to mail, so I'll call him.   He needs the info in the mail, but he also needs my explanation.

My issue is more with the chronic people.  I work with 2 people that appear in my office door at least 2X per day to say "I just sent you an email on subject X"   Not that it is urgent or they need to add something, they just feel the need to tell me that they sent me an email.   Every time.   And I'm not behind on my emails, so it's not like if they don't tell me I'll never see it.

Regarding the bolded, yes. There are times when I need to cc my boss just so that the other folks on the email know that my boss is aware of the situation. But to just suddenly include him in a conversation he knows nothing about will leave him scratching his head. So I'll go over and give him a brief history and explanation on why I'm copying him and let him know if he needs to respond or get his take on the situation before including him, for example.

misha412

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Re: S/O Calling and Emailing on the same subject
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2014, 03:06:59 PM »
Once upon a few jobs ago, I had a co-worker who liked to come in early. It gave her time to go through emails, catch up on projects, etc. I would come in about normal time to at least one or two messages on my voice mail. Co-worker finds an email she needs to forward to me for action. She send it and the leaves a voice mail "Hey misha412, I just sent you an email from X company. It's not real urgent, but I wanted to let you know. Bye." I think the record was five voice mail messages, only one of which required immediate attention.

I learned to live with it. However, when she started doing it to our new boss, it stopped after only a couple of days. Not sure what happened, but I think the boss got tired having the same voice mail from her multiple times every morning.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: S/O Calling and Emailing on the same subject
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2014, 03:28:12 PM »
In the case of something urgent, I think what I would do is type up the email with all the information I need to send to the recipient but I wouldn't send it.  I'd call them and tell them that I was sending an urgent email to them and hit send while I was talking to them.  If I got VM, I'd leave a message and then hit send.

This is predicated on having a virtually instantaneous email system, though.  I know there are systems out there that sometimes eat emails or hold them up for a few hours.  Including my work on occasion.

But none urgent items?  Call me OR email me but not both.
I have CDO.  It is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.
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PastryGoddess

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Re: S/O Calling and Emailing on the same subject
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2014, 04:34:53 PM »
If something is urgent, I'm much more likely to pick up the phone and call first.  If I get someone on the phone, I will follow up with an email outlining the issue and referencing the phone call.  If I don't get them on the phone, I end my message letting them know I am also sending an email.

When I send the email, I will let them know that I also left a message on their phone and to get back to me using whichever method works best for them.

GreenHall

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Re: S/O Calling and Emailing on the same subject
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2014, 04:41:58 PM »
I just did this.  But - 1) there is someone new in this position and I do not yet know the communication method they are most likely to respond to and 2) I felt like I was babbling in the message, so I followed up with an email to try to clarify my question (for both of us).  I did reference the voicemail in my email.  Also, my email sig has all my phone number, and they now have my email address.

Lynn2000

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Re: S/O Calling and Emailing on the same subject
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2014, 05:14:16 PM »
My boss is the queen of doing this. I don't know how many times she has composed an email to someone in the admin office, sent it, and then immediately walked over (different but nearby building) to pop up at their desk and ask about it. Generally not things that are time sensitive, either, just things that are IMPORTANT in her mind.

She does it to me, too. My desk is right outside her office. She will come out and say, "I just sent you an email..." (literally hit send right before getting up) and then she'll sit down and want to discuss the topic, without even giving me a chance to read the email. Sometimes she will send me the email, then immediately print it out, bring me the paper copy, and want to start talking about it without giving me a chance to read either the electronic or paper version.

With me and the admin office, she also likes to just pop in with something she wants taken care of/looked up right now, without considering that maybe the person was in the middle of doing something else. With me, as her direct employee, I can kind of understand it--my time is her time, I suppose--but I think the admin staff get rather tired of it.

I think part of the irritation with the email + visit is because, with words/body language/tone/etc., she really gives the impression that she thinks you won't do what she wants in a timely fashion with just the email. Like you are so eager to get out of work that you will pretend you never got the email or ignore it or deliberately misunderstand it if she doesn't immediately show that she's watching you. For some reason, this kind of grates on people. ::)

I think what the OP describes is fine, though. If you can articulate a reason why both the email and the call/visit are necessary, without impugning the character of the recipient (unless of course you have hard evidence of bad behavior), it's probably reasonable.
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TootsNYC

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Re: S/O Calling and Emailing on the same subject
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2014, 05:17:45 PM »
Quote
I think what the OP describes is fine, though. If you can articulate a reason why both the email and the call/visit are necessary, without impugning the character of the recipient (unless of course you have hard evidence of bad behavior), it's probably reasonable.


I will sometimes even state that reason in voicemail or email:

"Here are all the facts in case it's useful to have them in print/forward them on."

"I sent an email, but I'm calling bcs it occurred to me you might be away from your desk but getting voicemail."

PastryGoddess

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Re: S/O Calling and Emailing on the same subject
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2014, 05:48:44 PM »
My boss is the queen of doing this. I don't know how many times she has composed an email to someone in the admin office, sent it, and then immediately walked over (different but nearby building) to pop up at their desk and ask about it. Generally not things that are time sensitive, either, just things that are IMPORTANT in her mind.

She does it to me, too. My desk is right outside her office. She will come out and say, "I just sent you an email..." (literally hit send right before getting up) and then she'll sit down and want to discuss the topic, without even giving me a chance to read the email. Sometimes she will send me the email, then immediately print it out, bring me the paper copy, and want to start talking about it without giving me a chance to read either the electronic or paper version.

With me and the admin office, she also likes to just pop in with something she wants taken care of/looked up right now, without considering that maybe the person was in the middle of doing something else. With me, as her direct employee, I can kind of understand it--my time is her time, I suppose--but I think the admin staff get rather tired of it.

I think part of the irritation with the email + visit is because, with words/body language/tone/etc., she really gives the impression that she thinks you won't do what she wants in a timely fashion with just the email. Like you are so eager to get out of work that you will pretend you never got the email or ignore it or deliberately misunderstand it if she doesn't immediately show that she's watching you. For some reason, this kind of grates on people. ::)

I think what the OP describes is fine, though. If you can articulate a reason why both the email and the call/visit are necessary, without impugning the character of the recipient (unless of course you have hard evidence of bad behavior), it's probably reasonable.

I had a boss that used to do that.  What I would do is stop what I was doing and read the email twice (I read fast :D)  Then I would go and print it out and sit down.  After that I would ask my boss what they wanted to talk about and take notes on the printed email.  During each step, I let my boss know what I was doing.  So I would say "Oh I heard it come into my inbox, let me take a look" then read it.  Then I would say that I wanted to print it so that I could take notes on it AND acutally take notes while we were chatting.  At the end of the conversation I would ask how I should prioritize it and reference the work that he had just interrupted. 

It took about 2 weeks but eventually boss would just tell me how to prioritize it in the email, without coming to chat with me.  I think he wanted to make sure that things would get done and this was his incredibly awkward way of doing it.  Once I demonstrated that yes, I CAN read, it stopped.  That job did get me into the (unfortunate) habit of checking emails every time the little notification went off.  But I'm really good at scanning and flagging, then getting back to my current work pretty quickly.

Lynn2000

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Re: S/O Calling and Emailing on the same subject
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2014, 05:53:44 PM »
My boss is the queen of doing this. I don't know how many times she has composed an email to someone in the admin office, sent it, and then immediately walked over (different but nearby building) to pop up at their desk and ask about it. Generally not things that are time sensitive, either, just things that are IMPORTANT in her mind.

She does it to me, too. My desk is right outside her office. She will come out and say, "I just sent you an email..." (literally hit send right before getting up) and then she'll sit down and want to discuss the topic, without even giving me a chance to read the email. Sometimes she will send me the email, then immediately print it out, bring me the paper copy, and want to start talking about it without giving me a chance to read either the electronic or paper version.

With me and the admin office, she also likes to just pop in with something she wants taken care of/looked up right now, without considering that maybe the person was in the middle of doing something else. With me, as her direct employee, I can kind of understand it--my time is her time, I suppose--but I think the admin staff get rather tired of it.

I think part of the irritation with the email + visit is because, with words/body language/tone/etc., she really gives the impression that she thinks you won't do what she wants in a timely fashion with just the email. Like you are so eager to get out of work that you will pretend you never got the email or ignore it or deliberately misunderstand it if she doesn't immediately show that she's watching you. For some reason, this kind of grates on people. ::)

I think what the OP describes is fine, though. If you can articulate a reason why both the email and the call/visit are necessary, without impugning the character of the recipient (unless of course you have hard evidence of bad behavior), it's probably reasonable.

I had a boss that used to do that.  What I would do is stop what I was doing and read the email twice (I read fast :D)  Then I would go and print it out and sit down.  After that I would ask my boss what they wanted to talk about and take notes on the printed email.  During each step, I let my boss know what I was doing.  So I would say "Oh I heard it come into my inbox, let me take a look" then read it.  Then I would say that I wanted to print it so that I could take notes on it AND acutally take notes while we were chatting.  At the end of the conversation I would ask how I should prioritize it and reference the work that he had just interrupted. 

It took about 2 weeks but eventually boss would just tell me how to prioritize it in the email, without coming to chat with me.  I think he wanted to make sure that things would get done and this was his incredibly awkward way of doing it.  Once I demonstrated that yes, I CAN read, it stopped.  That job did get me into the (unfortunate) habit of checking emails every time the little notification went off.  But I'm really good at scanning and flagging, then getting back to my current work pretty quickly.

Ha ha, that's great. :) I wish I could train my boss to do something like that, but I've been here over 10 years and if anything she's gotten worse.  :P I usually just stop whatever I was doing and turn my chair completely to face her, away from the computer, and I never try to read something if she's talking to me at the same time--I put the paper down or, as I said, turn away from the computer (and minimize all my windows at the same time). Actually a lot of these things aren't even tasks she wants me to do, they're things other people are doing/sending her that she wants to rant about, so it doesn't even matter if I understand the details.
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