I have recently started working on a really exciting ballooning project. A couple of my ballooning friends are planning to fly a balloon over the Pacific Ocean, from Japan to the US. To learn more about this project, go to pacificballoon.com.
As a result of this project, I have been working with a few corporations to help us out on the US side with recovering the equipment.
I solicited one well known national logistics company thinking they could give me advice. Specifically, my note read like this:
Thanks for the time to consider helping us figure this out!
As it turns out, they did not take the time to help us figure it out. Instead, I got this note back:
People or Tasks?
A friend at church once told me, “When people become tasks, I know I need to take a break.” I thought when I wrote my note to this company, I was a real person with a personal interest in a pretty cool project. What I got back clearly told me I was a task to this company. On the plus side, I did get a response. Part of me didn’t even expect that!
When caring for people and their needs becomes just another task to add to the list and get it done as fast as possible, we are missing the point.
Use My Name
I get it – they probably get hundreds of requests for help, or money, or something each day. They can’t possibly be expected to help everyone, or even be interested in everyone. However, by failing to actually insert my name in the communication they left me wanting.
Contrast that note above with this one:
I have a similar reaction when I receive emails directed to me without using my name. Maybe I am old school, but I learned to open a communication with some sort of a salutation. Rehearse this in your own mind, how does it sound when a missive starts with the content? How about when it starts with some small acknowledgement that you are a real person, with a name?
Your Next Move
Next time you are feeling overwhelmed with everything, and everyone, in your inbox remember those are real people with real lives and real feelings. Treat them with the care they deserve, even when you don’t feel like it.