If you work in a job where you have to talk with either people on your team, or with customers & clients, you need to figure out a way to prioritize your communication.
Here’s a real simple model that will help you prioritize:
#1) People that are standing in front of you
These people have made the effort to come to your business, to visit your office. They want to talk with you. They are standing right in front of you!
#2) People that call you on the phone
These people are calling in “real-time”. They are looking for you, need to connect and are calling. Don’t ignore someone in front of you to pick up the phone, but when you get a chance, call them back. They have taken the first step.
#3) People that send emails
I don’t know where we got the idea that email communication is instantaneous. We expect people to reply immediately. The great thing about email is that it creates some space. The urgency is a little less, and you can create some margin to create your response. If it’s really important, there should be a call or a visit!
#4) People that send mail.
There’s not much of this anymore… but it does exist. Mail works great for things that don’t have a big time constraint, and it also works well to communicate value. A hand-written letter means more to me than an email or an instant message. It communicates time, value and energy. Mail still works and has great value, but it’s not free!