Friday, January 10, 2020

Stop the small talk if you need information

I hate small talk online and offline - especially when it doesn't go anywhere and performs zero information exchange despite consuming considerable time. This post talks about why I hate small talk online.

They: Hi
Me: Hi
They: How r u?
Me: Good, thanks, and you?
They: Good too. 

So what's next? Do I need to continue this chat? Note how I was the one who typed more characters above despite them starting the convo. Come to the point directly! I am not here to lead and drive the communication that you started (unless we are close and we know each other very well). If you are chatting online with me through LinkedIn, very likely there is a reason. You don't message someone without a purpose, especially a stranger -- that too using professional network platforms such as LinkedIn.

These days, if the message comes from an unknown youth, I cut them short to help both of us. 

They: Hi 
Me: Hi 
They: How r u? 
Me: Anything I can help with? 
They: I want to apply to GSoC. How to proceed? 

See, I have prevented that unnecessary bluff and waste of network bandwidth.

My suggestion to the youngsters, don't ask to ask. Just ask. If someone has responded to your chat/message, you have already achieved their attention. Most people have a little attention span. Don't lose that to small talk. Instead, come to the point instantly. Although chats are synchronous technically, they work more asynchronously in practice. I am not glued to my computer to slowly receive each piece of message and reply. But if you message the important/core communication at once in brief, it can get you the answer faster.

Often the below communication works better. Shorter and more to the point, but more complete than the previous 2.

They: Hi Pradeeban, I want to apply to GSoC with Emory BMI. How to proceed?
Me: Hi, Thanks for your interest. Please check

All it needed was just one single message exchange. Not three or more as in the second and first cases.

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