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LinkedIn Messaging Part II: The Dangers of Asynchronous Communication (including email)

August 13th, 2014

Yesterday I wrote a post titled Why You Shouldn’t Message Me On LinkedIn. The main argument was LinkedIn’s lack of auto-reply feature, which means that even if I set up a vacation message in my email, I can’t do that in my LinkedIn messaging system (aka, inbox). Note to LinkedIn: if you are going to “fix” that, please let me also create an “email signature”…!

Anyway, in the comments, Lamar asks about sending gmail messages, and getting those bounce back. He argues that his gmail activity is less reliable then sending messages via LinkedIn…

SO WHAT IS THE RIGHT ANSWER?  

Let me clarify that I’m not solely talking about technological success (whether the message you sent was actually received in the person’s inbox).  I’m talking about whether the reader will actually see the message.  Having something sent to the mailbox, but filed in spam or junk, is a failure.  In my opinion, sending something to someone’s Gmail account and having it not be in the Primary tab is a failure.  I use the Gmail corporate service for my JibberJobber email, and I find that too often my @JibberJobber emails are not received by the recipient, because their email spam filters don’t like Gmail’s DNS servers (and perhaps other things that Gmail is doing).  That is lame and unfortunate… Gmail should clean that up. BUT, there are too many factors (like the 3rd party email blacklists, which sometimes are created by some shady guy with no ethics and a chip on his shoulder, working in a poorly lit apartment with energy drinks and empty pizza boxes strewn around his lonely room).  Nothing you can do about that.  Too bad corporations give his input any value :(

In communicating with a human being, though, the real issue comes down to asynchronous communication.

Has anyone ever said something like “why didn’t you do that think I asked you to do?  I texted you!

Um, maybe because I didn’t get the text?!?!

But I texted you!

Sounds like a weak argument, doesn’t it?

When you really need communication to happen, you need to confirm it happened.  Just because you texted someone doesn’t mean that (a) their phone registered the text, and (b) they say the text.

One definition of asynchronous is “not occurring at the same time.”  That, my friends, is text, email, LinkedIn messaging, etc.

In a face-to-face conversation (or phone call, chat, etc.) you have someone who says something, and someone else who can respond immediately.  Even if it is through body language, the response, or the conversation, is “occurring at the same time.”

If you want to know if someone heard you, you can ask “did you hear me?”

If you want to know if someone saw your text/email/message, you could ask them.  Or you could wait for them to respond.  But you can’t assume that any asynchronous communication is going to be received and read (much less responded to) immediately.

Check out this quote, in an article talking about asynchronous communication:

“Sometimes people have to wait hours, days, and even weeks to get a response to a message or feedback…”

It really doesn’t matter what method of asynchronous communication you use, there will always be the element of a gamble (did the user get the message??).

In yesterday’s post, I recommended you not send me a message through LinkedIn, if you really want to get a response from me (or have me see your message).  But really, any other method, except face-to-face, will have similar risks.  I just find that my email is much more reliable than the LinkedIn messaging system, and how my email system interacts with it.

Which gamble are you going to take?

And how can you ensure your communications are being received and responded to?

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Why You Shouldn’t Message Me On LinkedIn

August 12th, 2014

Last week I was out of the office all week.  Two weeks earlier I was out for an entire week.  I was at camps with my kids and really didn’t have access to anything online.

I dutifully set up my “out of office” messages in my two main email systems, knowing that anyone who sent me an email would have known that I would take a few days to get back to them.  Unfortunately, I got a number of messages through LinkedIn’s messaging system… and those people didn’t get any message to let them know I was unavailable.

They just got radio silence.  Sounds an awful lot like being ignored.  Or that I don’t care to respond.

LinkedIn is cool, for sure.  But it’s not the only tool you should use.  Use email, or the phone, but don’t solely message people through LinkedIn.

If you don’t know someone’s email address, GET IT.  If you have it, USE IT.

The other reason I suggest you don’t use LinkedIn for primary or important messaging (if you aren’t doing important messaging, don’t send the message!) is because messages from LinkedIn don’t get in front of me very often.  A while back Google (Gmail) decided they needed to sift my email into three groups (they could have just named tabs 2 and 3 SPAM, right?):

gmail_buckets

Guess where I spend most of my time?

The “Primary” box.

Guess where your LinkedIn message goes?

NOT the “Primary” box.

Don’t use Gmail, so that’s not an issue?  I suggest you check out your spam or junk folder, and see how many LinkedIn messages are in there.  That should be proof enough that you shouldn’t depend on LinkedIn for sending messages.

Want to get on my radar?  EMAIL ME directly.

Sending me a message through LinkedIn is a gamble.

How about you?

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First thing to do when you get a layoff notice

August 11th, 2014

I was listening to a friend talk about his layoff this weekend…. he had zero days of transition from his last job to his new gig.  He related something like this (in my own words):

“I got laid off two months ago and I immediately started my job search…”

There’s more to his story, but as far as this post is concerned, that is the most important thing I want to share.  Since I lost my job, 8+ years ago, I have met plenty of people who have gotten a layoff notice, and had a few weeks or a few months to prepare for the next job.

I’ve also met plenty of people who have some kind of sweet severance, giving them months of normal income before their income goes away. The story I hear the most is “I’ll start looking for my next job in six months, when I get close to the severance running out.”

Folks, the time to look for a job is (personally I feel like it is ALL THE TIME, but if you hear you are getting laid off, or think you are going to get laid off, START LOOKING…) NOW!

My friend got an eight week notice, and by the end of eight weeks he had a job lined up.

That is a much better transition than I had!

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Job Search Analogy: They Scary Night Hike :s

August 4th, 2014

Friday I drove about an hour away away to a somewhat unknown campground that has become a family favorite.  I took four of my favorite kids and we met up with about 50 neighborhood friends who were going to enjoy a group campground with us.  It was a super fun time with great people and great food.

One of my favorite things to do while camping is to do a “night hike.”  This campground is so safe and secluded that I set of with three or four other adults and thirteen kids for a night hike.  Now, my version of night hike is with teenagers, and the rule is that all flashlights have to be off so our eyes can acclimate, and so we can see the amazing stars in a place void of light pollution.

However, on this hike, the average age of the kids was probably… seven!  Half of them had glow-stick necklaces, and most of them had flashlights.  I asked them to turn off their lights, but it became clear about three steps into the hike that some of the kids were scared, and that no one was going to turn off their lights.

A few minutes into our hike we started hearing whimperings of “I’m scared,” and “let’s go back now.”  Somehow, though, all of the kids were able to hang in there until we got about a half mile away from camp, where we sat on a log and looked at the stars.  We also had a minute of complete silence and then shared what we heard. It’s a profound and humbling experience to get away from the city sights and noises and spend time absorbing the Great Outdoors.

Except, there was one kid who continued to whimper about going back to camp…. he was really quite scared the entire time.  Even though we had more light than we should have, and there were plenty of adults, and walking this little road in the campground was as safe as walking to your bathroom in the middle of the night, this kid was terrified.

I thought about how we, as job seekers, are like that little kid.  I KNOW it is scary.  It is enough to make grown men cry, cause unprecedented anxiety, and all that stuff.

I thought, even though he was totally safe, his feelings were real.

I know YOUR feelings are real.  I don’t want to take that away from you.

I also know that you are not alone.  There are people who are with you.  Some of them are wiser and more experienced.  Some of them have been down the road plenty of times.  Some of the people walking with you know what dangers (or lack of dangers) are in the road.  Some of them leave you alone, enough to freak you out, but they would absolutely be there for you if there was real danger, or if you cried out for help.

Everything about the scenario reminded me of my job search.  I felt alone, but I wasn’t. I felt in danger, but I wasn’t.

When we got back to camp, with the lanterns, and lots of adults talking and laughing, the fear was totally gone.

When you land your job, with a paycheck and whatever cool benefits you get, the fear might be totally gone.

But remember, you walked the path.  You did it.  You survived.  You maybe even thrived.  You can help others walk that path, and when the time comes for you to do it again, you can.  You will.  But next time you can do it with a different perspective.  You don’t have to be scared, whimpering, and feeling subject to so many things outside of your control.  Next time, you can do it with knowledge, power, a sense of security, and confidence.

What a cool analogy.  Think of those going through their own “night hike,” and be compassionate towards them.  If you are going through your own, look for mentors, and guides, and people who have a better vision of the road you are on than you do.  While it may seem impossible, learn to trust in them.  Scary, but if they’ve been down that road, they might have just what you need.

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