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Monday, October 2, 2023

is it ever dangerous to answer to an e-mail too shortly? — Ask a Supervisor

A reader writes:

I work in municipal authorities, and infrequently we get requests that we have to say “no” to. On this case, a constituent requested for a bus cease outdoors of her constructing. This wouldn’t be unreasonable, besides there isn’t a bus route on the road in query. This sort of confusion occurs generally, so I shortly (inside 10 minutes of receiving the preliminary e-mail) responded with a be aware saying why a bus cease isn’t doable and pointed them to the closest bus route. Their reply indicated that they felt my response was impolite and dismissive.

I’ve in all probability written higher responses to the sort of query earlier than, however I’m curious if the pace of my reply was a part of the difficulty. Whereas my reply wouldn’t have modified considerably, I ponder if ready 24 hours to reply would have made it look like we had not less than thought-about their request. This contrasts with offering excellent news, the place a fast response makes it look like we had been already on high of the difficulty and offering nice service.

Are there any finest practices round response occasions for dangerous information vs. excellent news? Ought to I exploit my “schedule ship” button extra typically when dealing out dangerous information?

Ooooh, fascinating query!

I do assume there are occasions when a really fast response could make the recipient really feel such as you didn’t put any actual thought or effort into the response. I don’t know if this was one in every of them — it’s doable that it was your e-mail wording that got here throughout as brusque or dismissive, or that this individual is solely unreasonable — however I do assume it’s value desirous about what indicators may be despatched by very fast responses in some conditions.

For instance, I can typically inform in 15 seconds that I’m not going to maneuver a job applicant ahead to an interview. But when I occur to be purposes proper after they despatched theirs in, I’m not going to ship that rejection on the spot — as a result of a ton of individuals really feel stung in the event that they get a job rejection solely minutes after making use of. Whether or not or not that’s cheap isn’t the purpose; the purpose is that tons of individuals will really feel like, “Wow, I’m so horrible that it solely took you 5 minutes to reject me” or “You clearly didn’t even have a look at my software.” Individuals may know in principle that preliminary resume screens are quick, however that sort of timeline can nonetheless sting.

Equally, should you put lots of time into fastidiously crafting an e-mail to your boss requesting one thing and actually agonized over your wording and method, listening to “no” only a few minutes later may really feel such as you acquired much less consideration than if a bit extra time had handed.

To be clear, I’m positively not suggesting that you just delay responses that would have any diploma of time-sensitivity! When somebody wants a fast reply or a challenge will likely be on maintain till you reply, synthetic delays could be counterproductive. However different occasions, the phantasm of “I gave this loads of consideration” is a social nicety that helps finesse some interactions.

I do assume you’re proper that these occasions usually tend to be once you’re delivering dangerous information than good (folks don’t normally complain about receiving excellent news too shortly). And sure, the “schedule ship” button is actually useful right here — I exploit it liberally myself, and infrequently for precisely this motive.

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