The three main ways to get in touch with me are Twitter, email and phone. To make your life easier, and mine less frustrating, here’s some information about how I work.
- Multi-tasking is bullshit. Wherever possible I try to get into the flow and concentrate on the task at hand until I’m finished, or it’s time to take a break. Only then will I pay attention to new communications from the outside world.
- I post a lot of information about what I’m doing. Please use this information to avoid embarrassment. My Weekly Wrap blog posts generally provide an outline of the week ahead. My travel schedule is on the side of every web page, and is generally updated within an hour of it changing. Every morning I tweet my daily plan, and it’ll always start “Mon plan”, “Tue plan” etc. If the plan changes I’ll tweet an update, usually within minutes of the change. If I’m having a particularly busy or frustrating day I’ll certainly tweet about it too.
- Business is done in business hours. Do you know what the word “weekend” means? In a global 24-hour world, we must all choose to take control of our own time.
My Twitter habits
Twitter is often the fastest way of contacting me. Twitter is nearly always running in the background. But things can be missed in my high-volume stream, and Twitter itself can be unreliable.
If you talk to me directly I will probably respond, though of course my response will be delayed if I have to concentrate on something else. Please look at my daily plan tweet and any others that might indicate what sort of day I’m having, and pick your timing accordingly.
If you talk about me indirectly — that is, you mention me but your comment isn’t specifically directed to me — then I probably won’t respond. I get far more tweets than I can respond to. It’s nothing personal. Well, except for you.
I tend not to look back at tweets that happened overnight or after I’ve taken a break. The river flows on. If I haven’t responded within a couple of hours then it’s safe to assume I didn’t see that tweet.
Similarly, if one of my tweets is more than a few hours old, then unless it’s clearly related to something of ongoing professional or personal interest than I’m probably not interested any more.
“Hey remember three weeks ago at the pub, just after dinner, you asked about grasshoppers?”
No. I don’t.
Even if it is something of continuing professional interest, I really don’t want to talk about it outside business hours — unless it’s precisely related to something I’m on deadline for right that very moment. That you don’t get around to Twittersearching your product name until well after cocktail hour is more an indication that you don’t yet understand that Twitter is a real-time medium. That’s your problem, not mine.
My telephone habits
In general, I don’t answer the phone if there’s no caller ID, if I don’t immediately recognise the number, or if I’m giving attention to someone or something else. Like eating. Or finishing the article I’m writing. Or in a meeting.
Indeed, I think people who answer their phone during meetings are rude beyond belief. Someone has carved time out of their schedule to meet with you and give you their sole attention! Answering the phone with “I can’t talk now, I’m in a meeting”? Well if you can’t talk now, why the fuck did you answer the phone? God invented voicemail for a reason. When this idiocy happens, I’ve been known to stand up, gather my papers and say, “How about I come back when you’re ready?”
Should I not answer the phone, that doesn’t mean I won’t be able to call you back within moments — if you leave a message. I may simply be finishing typing a few sentences before the thoughts slip out of my head. If you’ve gone to the trouble of calling but don’t leave a message, I’ll think you’re an idiot.
If you’re trying to sell me something, or ask for money, don’t even bother. If I do pick up the call and the first word I hear is a robotic “Congratulations” I will hang up immediately.
My email habits
I get eleventy billion truckloads of email every day, so I check email in batches rather than react all Pavlovian-like to a “You’ve got mail!” ping.
I cherry-pick the emails that I’m expecting and leave the rest until I have time to sort through them. That can sometimes take a couple of days, or even longer if I’m particularly busy.
Please use meaningful subject lines. Say clearly, right up front, what you want. “Call to action”, yeah? When I’m dealing with a batch of email my finger is on the “delete” key. Your goal is to dissuade me from pressing it after I’ve read your first paragraph.
Don’t bother using the priority flags to mark your email as urgent. Everybody always thinks their emails are urgent.
Why am I having to explain all this? It’s 2013, for fuck’s sake!
Other contact methods
Skype: The Skype ID stilgherrian and the associated SkypeIn number +61 2 8011 3733 is used solely for pre-arranged interviews and recordings, or for you to leave audio comments for The 9pm Edict and Patch Monday podcasts. Skype is not running at any other time.
LinkedIn: I have an account at www.linkedin.com/in/stilgherrian but it’s not being used actively.
Facebook: Ha ha ha ha no.
Fax: You’re joking, right? No? Well try +61 2 8569 2006.
Sending physical objects
I have a snail mail address, but please note that this mailbox is only checked once or twice a month.
PO Box 103
Enmore NSW 2042
If you need to visit me or deliver something, please be aware that my time is split between the Blue Mountains, Sydney and travelling for work. There is no regular pattern to this. Contact me first so we can make the best arrangements.