With the pandemic, more people are working remotely. This leads to more conversations via technology instead of in-person discussions. While I’ve gotten more emails than usual, there has been a noticeable increase in instant messages (IM). With more IMs, I’ve received some insight into the way some people like communicating.

Sometimes, I get an IM with no preamble, punctuation, capitalization, or context. For example:

what’s the xyz project

These types of messages come from someone in a hurry. I’m okay with the lack of punctuation and capitalization here. I would appreciate a “Hi!” or some sort of greeting as part of the IM. But, what I’m missing is the content. Why are you asking? Are you looking for a quick summary of the project’s history? Do you have questions about the implementation? Are you having an issue?

Instead, be more specific with your request:

Hi Ace! Joe is having issues logging in to XYZ. Where should he go for support?

Now, I have everything I need to get a complete response. Not only can I answer the request, but I may be able to provide additional help:

Hey Paul! It looks like Joe’s password has expired. He can go to URL to reset his password. Also, he can contact Steph with XYZ-specific issues.

Being more succinct upfront can make the communication more efficient.

After a bit of searching on text-messaging etiquette, I found “No Hello” and a few variants. It’s not actually about skipping the greetings in text messages. But, instead, including greetings as part of your text. Personally, that little greeting gives my brain a bit of time to pause and shift gears.

As an aside, I cannot help but think of Lionel Richie while writing this. 😁