In case you’re wondering why is this a problem in the first place here’s a nice summary:
People who do this are generally trying to be polite by not jumping right into the request, like one would in person or on the phone - and that’s great! But it’s 2021 and chat is neither of those things. For most people, typing is much slower than talking. So despite best intentions, you’re actually just making the other person wait for you to phrase your question, which is lost productivity (and kinda annoying).
Being polite is nice, but such filler messages add no value to an asynchronous communication. I know that you’re reaching out to me with a question/task and I’d just like to know what this it is, so I can do something about it. Getting to the meat of the conversation quickly helps you and me both be more productive.
It may seem trivial, but asking your question before getting that initial salutatory reply also allows for asynchronous communication. If the other party is away, and you leave before they come back, they can still answer your question, instead of just staring at a “Hello” and wondering what they missed.
Can’t agree more! I always cut right to the chase with my messages and advise everyone to do the same. Here are some other opening messages that you should avoid:
- Can I ask you a question?
- Can you help me with something?
- Are you around?
- Do you have a few minutes?
Specific messages always produce better results. Ask your questions right away and always clarify what would you like to discuss:
- Are we ready with the presentation about project X?
- Can you help me with the code review for Y?
- I need to discuss the plans for feature Z ASAP. Do you have time for quick call now?
Simple and effective.