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<title>Considerate communication | Derek Sivers</title>
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<div class="blogparent">from the book “<a href="/m">Your Music and People</a>”:</div>
<h1>Considerate communication</h1>
<small>2018-02-15</small>
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<p>
	You get a big long email from someone and think, “Ooof. I’ll come back to that later.”
	(Then you never do.)
</p><p>
	Someone tries to contact you using a technology you hate, like a surprising incoming video call.
</p><p>
	You have a dilemma and need a good conversation, so you reach out to someone who replies, “Can you make it quick?”
</p><p>
	You’re overwhelmed with work on a tight deadline, and a friend calls trying to have a long conversation.
</p><p>
	It’s hard to match your communication with someone else’s preference and situation.
</p><p>
	There’s a huge benefit to having a great conversation, but sometimes you need to be extremely succinct.
	So how do you reconcile this?
	Here’s my advice:
</p><p>
<strong>
	First, prepare the most succinct version of your reason for contacting someone.
</strong>
	Make it so short that if the person only has 30 seconds to talk, you could communicate your point, ask your question, and get the answer.
</p><p>
	With real-time communication, like text or phone, just start by asking if they have time.
	If they do, then take the time to get personal, be a friend, and have a good conversation.
	But if they don’t, then just use the short version.
</p><p>
	With non-real-time communication, like email, assume you’ve only got ten seconds.
<strong>
	Edit your emails down to a few sentences.
</strong>
	But always give a link to more information, so they can check it out if they have time.
	And include your other contact information, in case they prefer a longer conversation about it.
	(This is what email signatures are for.)
	Then, if they reply and ask, you can give the extra information you left out before.
</p><p>
	Some hate texting.
	Some hate calls.
	Some hate video.
	Some hate it all.
	Just keep track of their preference for future use.
</p><p>
	This may sound obvious, but it’s a bigger problem than people realize.
	Considerate communication is surprisingly rare.
</p>
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