You get this every day as a freelancer/ entrepreneur – bombardments of emails, messages and calls. It used to be though but manageable, but nowadays it’s become worst. Not because there is more of, but because these messages are distributed across multiple communication channels.
Multi-channel communication stress
So every time you think you are done replying to all the import emails you check your Facebook and see your inbox is full there. Skipping to LinkedIn – again, many unread messages. And your phone only makes it worse- WhatsApp, text messages and an odd (perhaps a tribute to the 90’s ? ) voice mail you haven’t checked in 3 months.
Oh, and there’s that thing the phone is actually made for. Calls. But most of the come in at a time you are unable to answer, so they become missed calls which you should now return.
And there’s a different etiquette for each communication channel, too. It’s ok to respond to an email a few hours after you got it, but if you start a WhatsApp/IM conversation and queue for some time the other side gets pissed- why aren’t you answering.
And Even Email, the form of communication invented to save time and make communicating across the globe effortlessly, is difficult for us freelancers, who use anything between 2-5 email address at a time.
Do it like the Navy
So after battling with this difficulty for a while, I decided to go back to my root. Back when I was at the Naval Academy we were taught how each in operational includes a Communication chapter. It lists all the frequencies, participating units and code names. It also list the Communication preferences for each entity during the different phases of execution.
For instance- a Surface vessel should try to communicate first using SATCOM (less chance of it being intercepted), then other means and finally HF frequency, which can be triangulated and disclose the vessel’s location to the enemy (don’t worry, this isn’t top secret stuff, it’s common knowledge since WWII). For us tactical officers, in charge of our ship’s communication, this little table was like a bible. We would memorize it, copy it and paste it around the comms room, bridge and literally anywhere where someone could pick a handset and send a transmission.
And since everyone in the fleet knew these rules, you had no misunderstanding and grief over who contacted who and in what channel.
Communication preferences for contacting me
So here’ my Communication preferences. If you want to reach me, please start from the top and if you don’t get a response quick enough move to the next option.
- LinkedIn messenger
- Text Message
- Tweeter IM
- Google Hangouts
- Skype IM
- Voicemail (only if older than 40)
And if you really want my attention – let’s meet Face to Face (but make sure you schedule it via Email. It listed right here : Yotam’s email