Communication is the key! I know we all heard that advice, but, if at least half of our generation took that advice seriously, then this world would be a better place. The past two decades have seen bombardment of social media and various other online tools to communicate. Every day more and more people adapt to these new ‘means’ of sending messages but it’s is not always ‘meaningful’. A good percentage of the present generation spends excessive amounts of time on the so-called ‘communication’ tools, and if a tiny percentage of that online time is invested wisely, then almost always it ends up being rewarding.
While there are many scenarios where few minutes of your time can prove extremely valuable, I will point out a few.
1. After interviews
In my limited experience, I have noticed that regardless of the position, you always make an impression on the interviewer if you send a follow up email. It could be thanking them for the opportunity or just giving out your feedback. No matter how important your schedule is, take those two minutes to write that email, and I guarantee you that you have already separated yourself from the rest of the candidates. Sometimes it might even be the deciding factor.
2. When you receive an advice or recommendation
It is a very common practice to reach out to peers, professors, colleagues etc. for advice when you are making a big decision in life. Let it be while applying for school, a job or for the role of a Zombie in the Walking Dead, we all need advices. It is always important that you reach back to the people who provided you with advice or recommendation and thank them. Trust me it matters, no matter what the outcome was of your application. Regardless of the fact that you might need them again, it just makes the other person feel worthy.
3. After conferences and workshops
Every now and then we get an opportunity to meet people in a professional or academic setting. Most of us carry business cards or exchange email addresses. If not always, there are changes that one of the people you meet, can be your future employer or someone you might do some business with. After you get back to home/work, send a generic email to the handful of people you met, telling them that it was great to connect, and that you would like to stay in touch with them for professional reasons. Because if you do get involved with any of those people in the future, then trust me, your one email will make a difference in their memory about you.
4. After missed invites
Inviting people to events and getting invited is a major part of our lives. Some of them you can go to and many of them you cannot. In case you cannot make it, then just lift that phone or go to the computer, or take a pen and paper if you are that classy, and send a small response to the person inviting you. Tell them that you could not make it, thank them for inviting you and wish them the best. This small gesture makes the person inviting you feel happy about having friends like you. It really keeps the bonds in places.
5. Among work groups
At workplace, we come across many situations where we have to take assistance from our colleagues. While most of them don’t mind helping, if you keep taking their help without appreciating them then one day you will be left all for yourself. Make sure you take those two minutes to tell the person that their little assistance goes a long way. And yes, that way you can also make sure that you are invited to those secret happy hours you have heard rumors of.
6. Between friends and family
Seriously, if you don’t already do this then some serious thought needs to go into your lifestyle. No matter what life brings you, family and friends will always be by your side helping you get through it. But in this world not everyone is fortune enough to live with your friends and family for your entire life and times do come when we have to be separated. It takes very little to send that letter/email or even a card to tell them that they matter. Hearing from someone is one of the happiest joys in life and you have the opportunity to give them that. It is such a great feeling to know that one is remembered so make sure you let people know exactly that.
7. And of course with Partners
How many times have you not faced a situation where you went “everything is so better after this talk,” yet, this one simple formula to eliminate hours of pain is never used as much as it should be. People go through sleepless nights and mental stress rather than lifting that phone and texting that one word which will start the talk. Having an ego will never get you anywhere good. Rather be the bigger person and when things gets better than your partner will only be so much happy that you were the one who started the talk. And yes you can rub it in their faces later.
While I know that many of the above situations describe ideal scenarios, I am sure that the readers are smart enough to apply them in the non-ideal ones too. Every day we are presented with situations where a two minute attention to that situation can literally make one’s life better. Communicating you intent, appreciation, advice etc. will not only benefit you but also make you a better and respectable person.