Don’t just say “Hello!” in Chat

you: Hi
friend: Hello.
# YOUR FRIEND WAITS WHILE YOU PHRASE YOUR QUESTION
you: I'm working on [something], and I'm trying to do [etc...]
# YOU WAIT WHILE YOUR FRIEND PHRASES THEIR ANSWER
friend: Oh, that's [answer...]

It’s as if you called someone on the phone and said “Hi!” and then put them on hold!

As you can (hopefully) see, this is inefficient and a waste of everyone’s time, please do this instead:

you: Hi -- I'm working on [something], and I'm trying to do [etc...]
# YOU WAIT WHILE YOUR FRIEND PHRASES THEIR ANSWER
friend: [answers question]

Note that you get help minutes sooner, and you don’t make them wait. Instead, your friend can start thinking about your question right away!

You’re trying to be polite by not jumping right into the request as you would do in person or on the phone. However, Chat is neither of those things. Instead of being polite, you are just making the other person wait for you to phrase your question, which is lost productivity on both ends.

The same goes for “@friend Are you there?”, “Hi, friend – quick question.”, “Do you have a sec?” and “@friend dm?”. Just ask the question!

If you feel it’s brusque to say “Hi” and ask the question, you can do something like this:

you: Hi -- if you're not busy I was wondering if I could ask a question. I'm working on [something], and I'm trying to do [etc...]

Additionally, asking your question directly allows asynchronous communication. Again this is the internet, not real life. Not everyone is available 24/7 to answer your questions. If the other party is away, and you leave before they come back, they can still answer your question, instead of just staring at a “Hello!” and wondering what they missed.


Adapted from www.nohello.com.