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is it ever unhealthy to answer to an e mail too shortly? — Ask a Supervisor

A reader writes:

I work in municipal authorities, and infrequently we get requests that we have to say “no” to. On this case, a constituent requested for a bus cease exterior of her constructing. This wouldn’t be unreasonable, besides there isn’t any bus route on the road in query. This type of confusion occurs generally, so I shortly (inside 10 minutes of receiving the preliminary e mail) responded with a be aware saying why a bus cease isn’t doable and pointed them to the closest bus route. Their reply indicated that they felt my response was impolite and dismissive.

I’ve in all probability written higher responses to any such query earlier than, however I’m curious if the velocity of my reply was a part of the problem. Whereas my reply wouldn’t have modified considerably, I ponder if ready 24 hours to reply would have made it seem to be we had not less than thought of their request. This contrasts with offering excellent news, the place a fast response makes it seem to be we had been already on high of the problem and offering nice service.

Are there any finest practices round response instances for unhealthy information vs. excellent news? Ought to I take advantage of my “schedule ship” button extra typically when dealing out unhealthy information?

Ooooh, fascinating query!

I do assume there are occasions when a really fast response could make the recipient really feel such as you didn’t put any actual thought or effort into the response. I don’t know if this was one in all them — it’s doable that it was your e mail wording that got here throughout as brusque or dismissive, or that this individual is solely unreasonable — however I do assume it’s price enthusiastic about what indicators may be despatched by very fast responses in some conditions.

For instance, I can typically inform in 15 seconds that I’m not going to maneuver a job applicant ahead to an interview. But when I occur to be functions proper after they despatched theirs in, I’m not going to ship that rejection on the spot — as a result of a ton of individuals really feel stung in the event that they get a job rejection solely minutes after making use of. Whether or not or not that’s affordable isn’t the purpose; the purpose is that tons of individuals will really feel like, “Wow, I’m so horrible that it solely took you 5 minutes to reject me” or “You clearly didn’t even take a look at my software.” Individuals would possibly know in idea that preliminary resume screens are quick, however that form of timeline can nonetheless sting.

Equally, if you happen to put a number of time into rigorously crafting an e mail to your boss requesting one thing and actually agonized over your wording and method, listening to “no” only a few minutes later would possibly really feel such as you bought much less consideration than if just a little extra time had handed.

To be clear, I’m positively not suggesting that you just delay responses that might have any diploma of time-sensitivity! When somebody wants a fast reply or a undertaking will likely be on maintain till you reply, synthetic delays can be counterproductive. However different instances, the phantasm of “I gave this loads of consideration” is a social nicety that helps finesse some interactions.

I do assume you’re proper that these instances usually tend to be once you’re delivering unhealthy information than good (folks don’t often complain about receiving excellent news too shortly). And sure, the “schedule ship” button is admittedly useful right here — I take advantage of it liberally myself, and infrequently for precisely this motive.



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