Being I have a handful of websites, it is inevitable that I will receive emails where the Senders are assuming something about me or one of my sites. Some of these assumptions are improperly accusatory and based on little to no actual knowledge or experience about the issue at hand. Here are my thoughts and recommendations on how to handle these type of emailers (or amend your ways if your are one of them).
Do you assume?
Assuming when it comes to technology issues, or any issue for that manner, based on limited knowledge or experience is not wise. Doing so tends to leave negative impressions or worse, you are not open to learning what you don’t know.
I do not assume things about topics I know nothing about. I do not assume to know how my car works just because I drive one. I am not a mechanic.
When I go to the Doctor with an ailment, I don’t assume what my treatment should be. I let the person who is educated in the field, my Doctor, ask the appropriate questions, take the necessary steps to determine what the diagnosis is. Even then, I don’t tell a Doctor what to prescribe. I am not a Doctor!
When it comes to technology, there is no end to those who email others and assume. Maybe they built a website once or have played with coding. Or, could be they’ve had a website for some time and honestly believe they know enough to know enough.
They probably know more than the folks around them making them overly confident in their limited knowledge. Apparently they think they know enough to tell those who are proven professionals in their fields how to fix what they perceive is broken. (And how simple it should be to do so.)
You don’t want to be that person.
Not Good for Relationships
Certainly this approach does not bode well when trying to form a positive impression or form new business relationships or partnerships. Nor would assuming with coworkers lend to creating a positive teamwork type environment.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been told that something was broken or not working and that I should fix it. Only to have to advise that the issue could be solved by any one of the Sender’s user settings (incorrect email settings, clearing a cache, rebooting a computer, checking firewall settings, check spyware/adware settings or spam filtering settings). Nothing was broken that I could fix.
On topics I have no expertise in, when I have a concern or I think something may be “wrong” I email asking a question in a genuinely courteous and curious manner. Not in an accusatory tone; not with the intent that I am trying to point out what the other side in my view doesn’t know or understand. Nor do I ask in a way to try and show off my knowledge. I want to understand and find out what’s up.
When it comes to your business communications with contacts and coworkers, be very careful when accusing or pointing out what you perceive to be “wrong”, “broken” or “not working.”
Always ask questions before assuming.
Regardless of the Topic at Hand
Let’s face it. Technology has evolved at a rate most humans are unable to keep up with. Even for folks like me who do tech for a living! I get that. If technology is anything it is an ongoing learning experience!
Unless you have solid proficiency to know for a fact what is at the root of the issue at hand, check your perceptions (and ego) at the door! What are you basing your accusation on? It had better be in actual experience and knowledge. No one wants know-it-all clients or coworkers!
When you run into folks who communicate in this manner, do what I do. Reply in a courteous, professional, factual and informative manner so that they can learn how their assumption indicated how much they really didn’t know while actually teaching them something on a topic they thought they knew all about.
The smarties send me an email of thanks for enlightening them. The others, well, they are probably too busy sending assumption-filled emails to other onliners and site owners.