HireMyVA Podcast

HireMyVA Podcast 49- What are appropriate items to communicate via text, email, zoom?

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Dave Braun
00:00:00
Welcome everybody, to the HireMyVA Team and Business Building Podcast, where we help you to reclaim your freedom through hiring and thriving with Virtual assistants without breaking the bank. That means without breaking your bank. And I’m Dave Braun, and I’m here with my partner and co-host, friend, mentor, best buddy, and coach, Larry Broughton.

Larry Broughton
00:00:18
David, how are you, my friend?

Dave Braun
00:00:21
I’m doing fantastic here.

Larry Broughton
00:00:23
Man. What a week it has been? Jeepers creepers.

Dave Braun
00:00:26
My gosh, you’re in Chicago, right?

Larry Broughton
00:00:29
I was in Chicago. I just got back last night. So that was good. Thank you for being flexible with your week last week for our weekly get-together. Love you, love our friends that are in our little group that keeps me sane. So thank you for keeping me on the right path. Who to hell knows where I’d be without you guys.

Dave Braun
00:00:50
Ditto, man. I’d be—I dunno. Let’s not think about that.

Larry Broughton
00:00:53
Yeah, exactly. All right. I think we ought to jump into this, this week. What we got going on?

Dave Braun
00:00:59
Yeah, we’ve really got a good topic to discuss. Now. This isn’t really a question as much, but a topic because it’s dear to our hearts, we see this happening all the time people making some big, big, big communication mistakes, damaging relationships when they do it the wrong way. So the topic basically is what are appropriate and non-appropriate items to communicate via, like text messaging or like slack, your email and versus talking on the phone or doing a zoom call with somebody or sitting with them in person. So what are the appropriate, and non-appropriate items to talk about? And you want me to talk a little bit about two examples that happened recently?

Larry Broughton
00:01:40
Sure. Let’s start there. Let’s see what happened.

Dave Braun
00:01:42
And of course, I gotta keep them very general, but here’s one of ’em. There was an email that I was mistakenly copied on and one of the business partners, so there are two business partners in this. One of—

Larry Broughton
00:01:56
This is gonna be juicy, isn’t it?

Dave Braun
00:01:59
Yeah, kind of. Well, one of the business partners was so frustrated with the other one. And he said some words in there as like, do you wanna keep going in this business or not? And he was so frustrated. And then the other one that I heard about was someone who’s really responsible for like, I don’t know, maybe a thousand team members in their organization. And then those team members service like another, hundreds of people. So there’s like tens of thousands of people that this person is really responsible for. And he sent an accusatory email to a vendor early in the morning, like at 4:00 AM. And it was like, the language wasn’t that great. And it was pretty inappropriate. So let’s talk about those.

Larry Broughton
00:02:52
Okay. I guess where I would start with this, Dave… Let’s remember that anything that’s in writing, whether it’s via text or email can come up during discovery if there’s ever a legal situation. You may think you erase it, but you don’t erase it. It will come up. It will track you down. So, I think we should always be cautious about what we’re putting into emails and into texts. If things start getting accusatory, as it sounds like these emails were, or someone is totally disgruntled. I don’t think you put it into an email unless you are actually doing it intentionally for a paper trail. So there is a reason. Sometimes you wanna say, Hey, it looks like you don’t want to do this anymore. But if you’re including somebody accidentally, you said you were included accidentally in this, sounds like it might have been emotional.

Larry Broughton
00:03:53
Maybe they replied all or something like that. I’ve seen that happen before. My sense though. Dave is that anytime it feels like it could potentially get ugly. You don’t email, you don’t text. You pick up the phone— Well, first of all, you breathe. And if you can get some time in between a couple of hours, a few hours in between their response, then you do a video call. Well, number one, if you can talk face to face, you walk across the office, you talk face to face. Number two is video. And number three is to pick up the phone. That’s the way I prefer to do it, but it takes courage to do that. A lot of us hide behind email, but I’ve seen more relationships damaged because of text and emails that have been taken either out of context or misconstrued, or overly exaggerated than what they were intentionally meant to be. And frankly Dave, people oftentimes will say things in email or text that they would never say to your face. And somebody accidentally capitalizes something or the punctuation is not exactly right. You miss it. But if you’re face to face or on video, you get a little bit more sense of the intention of the messaging, right? So what should be included in email and text and that kind of thing?

Larry Broughton
00:05:24
I think you can disseminate memos and those types of things, that’s fine. I would really stay away from confidential information. You gotta remember also anything that’s in text or email can either be screenshotted or shared somewhere else, unless you want the world to potentially see what you’re doing. And I’ve seen a lot of personal stuff. Frankly, let’s think about—we could probably sit here in just a matter of a couple of minutes, come up with all kinds of scandals that have been caused because someone has texted, sexted, and emailed inappropriate stuff to somebody who thought it was only between two people.

Dave Braun
00:05:58
And for us, yeah, we see it all the time. But you know, these people that do it and I’ve been guilty of it too. It’s, you’re in the moment, you’re so emotional, or let’s say, you’re angry or something and it’s almost like you can’t think. And it’s like, the first thing that you wanna do is like, I just gotta get this off my chest, instead of making a rational decision like you said, and sending an email that says, Hey, we need to talk about this, let’s do a quick call.

Larry Broughton
00:06:33
Well, I think you need to pause right there for a second number. Number one, this is where discipline comes in, self-discipline. Yes, there are times, a couple of times a week I want to do that, but I don’t do that. Have I done that? Yes, I’ve done that. Hopefully, I’ve matured since I can’t think of the last time I did. I couldn’t tell you a specific time. Because I try to be disciplined about it. It’s where you have to breathe. But it takes courage to stop and not send the darn thing. So, I think that’s part of the process right there. You gotta breathe. You gotta halt. And let cooler heads prevail on this. I forgot what my second thought was gonna be on that, but let’s, let’s keep going. I’m sure it’ll pop back into my mind, my brain.

Dave Braun
00:07:22
Yeah. I mean, one of the things that you said that triggered in my brain was, I think we have to understand ourselves and what can trigger us to get into a mode like that. Do we feel that we are not being respected? Do we feel we’re not being taken advantage of? Do we feel that they’re accusing us of something that’s unjustified? What is it that pushes our own buttons?

Larry Broughton
00:07:51
Well, that’s if you’re responding in anger, but part of it is you gotta wonder, it’s not just that. Sometimes people will reply all or just go down the rabbit hole of an email out of laziness, instead of just picking up the phone and calling. Let’s be honest, people have gotten very lazy since email has come out. It takes more effort nowadays to sit down and write a letter or a thank you card than to send a quick email. It’s easier to send an email than to pick up the phone and call.

Dave Braun
00:08:29
Yeah, it is.

Larry Broughton
00:08:31
But you don’t build relationships. Maybe it’s happened, but if this isn’t 150 years ago when people would correspond via pen pals and fall in love and be married for the first time they meet. That doesn’t happen anymore. We gotta be building relationships with people. And that takes some face-to-face time. It takes, actually calling people. So they similarly, recently, you know I’ve seen it with a client in our organization where a client clearly got pissed off and it could have easily been diffused by just the per the person on our team, picking up the phone and calling them as soon as they felt like things were starting to go off the rails.

Dave Braun
00:09:15
Yeah.

Larry Broughton
00:09:15
It’s so much easier. It’s so much easier to do that. And we gotta remember, particularly if it’s a client that we’re talking about here. They are paying us.

Dave Braun
00:09:27
Mm.

Larry Broughton
00:09:28
They are paying us.

Dave Braun
00:09:30
Yes.

Larry Broughton
00:09:30
Paying us. And so it’s our job to pick up the phone and have a solution or offer a solution to them. I’m not saying we should be disrespected. I’m not saying that that’s the case, but I can tell you this. We have to weigh it all out. Is it worth me eating a little bit of humble pie in order to keep this relationship and actually turn it around? In the old days, Dave, I used to teach this saying that was much more accepted back then. How do we turn customer service terrorists into customer service cheerleaders? What I found over the years is those people who end up being the most loyal were at one point almost haters of ours. But if you can turn them around, they’re almost like former smokers. And if you can turn them around, they can become very loyal.

Larry Broughton
01:10:25
And so, it’s worth the effort to take the time. So it’s the same thing with team members. If we have an issue with a team member, instead of emailing them and potentially embarrassing them even more and turning them into an enemy instead of a hater, or forwarding that darn email onto somebody else, or just pick up the phone. Or as you’d said, Hey, that email that went out, you said that went to was a hundred people who then thousands of people, the email probably should have been, Hey, I think we’ve got an important topic that we need to discuss. Can we set up an all-hands-on meeting tomorrow morning to discuss this? Here’s the video link. And then 12 hours later, we’re a little bit more calm.

Dave Braun
01:11:09
Yeah.

Larry Broughton
01:11:10
We actually have more perspective on the situation.

Dave Braun
01:11:16
Yeah. So like what you said, it’s like, we are responsible, that’s the one thing that is very different about us as human beings versus the animal kingdom, is we can think before we act if we choose to. And I was thinking—

Larry Broughton
01:11:33
I am not an animal. Yes.

Dave Braun
01:11:36
And I was also thinking about certain things. Okay, what would be okay to send, and emails and texts and all that. Things that are like facts or maybe agendas for meetings or a quick question. Stuff that like you had said that are non-emotional, maybe how-to questions, maybe simple greetings or something. I had a something today where we were working with a client and it’s on a Sunday morning and we were doing a site launch and one of my team members was supposed to be on, but they weren’t. And they said they were, but they weren’t. And so I’m like, instead of getting all huffy and puffy and mad and all that, and he left me alone, he’s disrespecting me all of that. I said, okay, well, there must be a good reason for it. And we’ll just talk about it later. And then I was able to thank clearly and we got the site launch, everything was great. And I now know what happened is he had some issues with his internet and he came on later. And so in that case, I was successful in putting off my emotions or being upset or whatever, because I realized that I just didn’t have all the facts. I didn’t have all the information.

Larry Broughton
01:12:53
Well, I like how you expected the best

Larry Broughton
01:12:57
out of that person. There’s gotta be a reason for this. It’s not that he’s just being a jerk or being lazy or something like that. But we do have to look at patterns. We got to look at patterns or if it happens over and over again and it just seems like every Sunday something seems to happen or the person’s calling in sick every Monday, there’s probably a problem there. But regarding texting what is okay to text. Listen, I think you just got to feel it out depending on the people. All I would say is this, this exercise caution because things get misconstrued, number one, and it can come out in discovery if there’s a legal thing. I guess maybe a third one is, would you want the rest of the world to see this iIf someone screenshotted it or forwarded it to the world?

Dave Braun
01:13:48
Or would you be proud of saying this a day later? Yeah. That kind of thing.

Larry Broughton
01:13:56
Yeah. Cause I can tell you, I can think of an email years ago that I sent out, I was embarrassed by, I took someone to task in an email. It’s like, Ugh, gosh, I wish I wouldn’t have done that.

Dave Braun
01:14:10
Oh, and I’ve done it.

Larry Broughton
01:14:12
And I apologized. Thank goodness. That’s the other thing. Do you have the courage to apologize when you’ve done something wrong?

Dave Braun
01:14:20
Yeah. So if we’re talking about managing our team members, when we talk about communication, it’s almost instant with some of these project managers and you can ping in Basecamp or whatever, Slack, it’s almost instant and you can’t get yourself in trouble, but I love how what you talked about is, do you have the courage afterward to say, Hey, I’m sorry, that was not appropriate and I’ll do better next time.

Larry Broughton
01:14:48
Yeah. So I guess I can’t give you a really straight answer, David, like what should be or what shouldn’t be. I can tell you what shouldn’t be, sexting shouldn’t be any part of a corporate environment. I hope for sure. I wish I didn’t have to say that, but I hear it all the time. You know, and those stories make it to TV. Don’t be doing that. But what should or shouldn’t be, I think you just have to feel your way along, and as you pointed out, would you be embarrassed or would you be proud of this going out there? So, again, I just exercise caution, but I’ve seen—I’m just gonna reiterate it because it’s so darn important. I’ve seen a lot of relationships damaged because of email and text. Let me back up. That’s not a hundred percent accurate. I’ve seen a lot of relationships damaged because of misconstrued.

Dave Braun
01:15:45
Yes.

Larry Broughton
01:15:45
Content of emails and texts.

Dave Braun
01:15:51
One of the things that I do, that just occurred to me is that on my email program, I have an add on that, I configure before it actually the email goes out and has a 32nd countdown timer.

Larry Broughton
01:16:04
Let’s say, I’ve got that too. Yeah.

Dave Braun
01:16:06
It helps, it does help. It doesn’t really help as much in this issue, but it does help. And that I sit and think, okay, did I really communicate clearly to the person that I’m sending it to? Am I saying the right things? It gives me 30 seconds of, you know, maybe a chance to get some clear thinking.

Larry Broughton
01:16:26
Yeah. And again, I think we’re putting a lot of emphasis on, like if you’re fired up, if you’re pissed off about something. But it’s not always that. It’s just inappropriate stuff, like being careful that when you hit reply all on emails from a client, is this really what you should be doing? Does everyone need to see your reply on this? So I would advise you to be cautious on that, but what we are talking about is, let’s talk about email etiquette if you’re doing reply all. If someone sends you an email and there’s five people that are CC’d on it, but you’re replying to a specific person, use their name. We’ve gotten very lazy. And when we’re sending emails, if there’s more than one person on there, do not say, Hey, here’s how I’m addressing this response to.

Larry Broughton
01:17:19
Like if it’s just Dave or if I’m sending you an email and you’re sending me an email, you and I are both pretty good about using our names, but I don’t think it’s that important. If you’ve got somebody that you’re emailing all the time, like Derek, our Business Development Director or VP of Business Development, he and I usually just email just the two of us. I’m not expecting him to say, Hey, Larry. And he’s not expecting me to say, Hey, Derek, every time. But as soon as you add more than one person in there, you need to be addressing who the email’s going to.

Dave Braun
01:17:49
Right. So that way the person takes the action items or really reads it or whatever it is you want. Yeah.

Larry Broughton
01:17:56
I didn’t know you were talking to me. I thought it was general information. So just be careful and stop being lazy.

Dave Braun
01:18:04
Yeah. I like that. I like that. Stop being lazy!

Larry Broughton
01:18:08
Is there anything else on this topic, Dave? Did we hit on what we intended to?

Dave Braun
01:18:14
I think so. I think it’s one of those topics that’s kind of tough and it’s like you said, you kind of have to feel your way through it. But I think we hit on a couple of important points is to stop and think before you do some of this stuff, especially if there’s anything emotionally charged in it. Or if it’s like, I remember one of the guys I used to work with, he would have a, like a two or three email rule. If your email going back and forth, is more than two or three times, pick up the phone, sit, and be done with it. So that’s another good rule here.

Larry Broughton
01:18:52
So agree with that. Yeah. As soon as it feels like it’s starting to go off the rails, pick up the phone. Like if someone is upset, if someone’s clearly upset in an email, don’t reply by email. Unless you’re gonna say, Hey, got your email, I’m gonna call you right now. I’m gonna call you in five minutes. Don’t go back and forth via email. For one thing, it’s too time-consuming. You could solve it quicker by picking up the phone or having a video chat with somebody or walking across the office and talking to them and you might think, oh, it’s just a response. But because of the damage, it’s done over and over again, then you gotta go back and fix it. That takes even more time. Please, please, I’m begging everyone.

Dave Braun
01:19:38
Yeah.

Larry Broughton
01:19:39
Begging you.

Dave Braun
01:19:39
We could even talk more on that, but I think we’ve hit this pretty well. What do you think? Good?

Larry Broughton
01:19:44
We beat the horse. Yes.

Dave Braun
01:19:46
All right. Poor horse. All right. Well, hey everybody, thanks for being with us today and listening to our good discussion. I think it was good. I got something good.

Larry Broughton
01:19:56
Alright.

Dave Braun
01:19:58
Well, we want you to remember though, building a team, we talk about building. And what we talked about in this episode, if you’re not careful, you can tear it down. But remember, building a team is the way to reclaim your freedom and we’re here to help you. So three things we’d love for you to do right now. And we really, really appreciate it. Number one, subscribe to the podcast if you haven’t already done so. And then the second thing is, give us a rating. And number three is, go to Hiremyva.com for more information on our course and community and other programs that we are coming out with as time goes. So, remember though, even without experience, if you don’t have experience working with a team, working with people, through our course and community, you’ll learn how to prepare for hire and thrive with Virtual Assistants. Larry and I, we’re just having a blast helping folks, answering questions and we wanna help you too. So just go to Hiremyva.com for more information.

Larry Broughton
02:20:51
That’s right. Hey, do yourself a favor. Do the world a favor. Go do something significant today. God bless you. God hold you. God keep you. All right, my friends. Go get ’em. We’ll see you later.

Dave Braun
02:21:01
All right. Bye.

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