Say hello to me in chat.

To chat or not to chat, this is the problem! I don’t always have time to chat, but most of the time (and especially if we don’t get a lot of chances to have a chilled chat) feel free to just say “Hello” and ask how my day is.

I realise you might have something to ask me and doesn’t really (or only) want to chat or I might be busy and just ask “what’s up?” or reply to your question. If I have more time, I might follow up to ask how is your day or make a snappy comment about the weather.

The most important rule is “Be mindful” the same person might get very busy at times, or just be in a bad mood: if you detect a change in the usual pattern, try to go with the flow. You’ll be able to follow up in a friendly way at a later stage.

If you don’t know someone, ask the question you need answered and, if you want, leave a hook for a more personal chat. It’s up to the counterparty to reply openly and expanding the chat, or just keep it small and simple to limit the interaction.

Example 1: we get cracking on the topic but there is time for a chat

In the following example, clearly the happy path, both workers have time to stop by for a chat. Let’s see an example on how this might unfold.

  • James> hey Andre, hi how are you?
  • Andre> All good, a bit sleepy but can’t complain. How are you?
  • James> I have a problem at work which perhaps you can help me solve: basically when I press X I’d expect Y to happen but I get an error
  • Andre> oh wow, that’s crazy… did you try to titillate the web hook?
  • James> cheers, that was it! Thank you. BTW I’m good, it’s kinda sunny these days and it helps the mood. Why you couldn’t sleep?
  • … rest of the friendly chat here

Example 2: James is a bit in a hurry

At work we are mostly in a hurry: chasing deadlines or unblocking somebody with a deadline. It’s perfectly fine to not have time for that. Please try to be mindful the other person might have a different schedule than you do: if you rarely chat with the person, try to understand if there are preferences on the communication style. Some people prefer a no hello policy.

  • James> hey Andre, hi how are you?
  • James> hey Andre, I’ve got a problem!
  • Andre> I hope that’s something I can help you with! You want to do a quick huddle? or perhaps it’s better if you write eveyrthing here?
  • James> Hopefully you know the answer to this one, or know who could I ask to: basically when I press X I’d expect Y to happen but I get an error. I can show you what happens in a screenshare if you want.
  • Andre> oh wow, that’s crazy… did you try to titillate the web hook?
  • James> Thanks, will check. Let’s have a zoom-break together sometimes - otherwise I always get in touch in a rush!

Example 3: extreme busy!

Sometimes people can be really busy and struggle to allocate some time to have normal human handshakes, or perhaps they are very passionate about optimisation and by saving a few minutes for each chat they save enough for a mindful break at the end of the day. Don’t take it personally if people are busy or if you can’t hijack their current priorities.

If you don’t get an answer, state your problem anyway as the person might be postponing a reply to a later stage where the conversation might be started and completed in the same interaction.

Example 4: some people like the pomodoro!

If you don’t get an asnwer right away, the person might have scheduled timings where impromptu conversations are evaluated. Make sure you add all the needed information and questions to maximise your slot.


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