Saakshi Nagpal

Archive for the tag “Instant messaging”

How do you communicate with Business ?


Picture this:

It’s a Monday morning after a long weekend when you took Friday off to get out of the city , travelling across 3 states . You have to attend your cousin’s wedding, a family affair !! This results in no ‘allowed’ access to e-mails. Back to Monday (travelling early morning) – you fire your email application and you have some 300 + unread emails.

What will you do?

a)      Sort them according to sender’s name?

b)      Sort them according to ‘high importance’?

c)       Take a deep breath and grab a cup of coffee.

d)      Panicked and start replying in order you receive those emails.

This is like what my morning is, today. The troubled part was I have to again apply for a leave (long weekend) for coming Monday and Tuesday. A road trip to Badrinath, with family.

You may be wondering if I am having such a number of e-mails ,either  I am not managing my clients / projects well, or I am keeping them aloof for the project  status or they are not informed well in advance that I am taking some time off for myself. (In India , taking time for family is equal to  taking time for yourself. Whereas I believe, there are 4 defined sections – work , family , friends and yourself , demanding their own time).

Just to justify my situation, my leave was planned and communicated beforehand (out of office also placed), project status always up to date. Such an alarming no of unread mails were because of few CC’s and a lot of system generated notifications. But still looking at the no, it does create a panic situation.

Regardless of your communication skills, it always comes down to your personality how you deal with such a situation. Some will reply back just saying “Done. Please check.”  And some will draft a long blog like e-mail.  We all will agree, inviting everyone concerned on a short conference call, probably with screen share is the quickest way to reach the solution .But is it reliable? (ah ! making MOM and wasting time again 😦 )  Next comes the Instant Messenger, IM  (which often shows all stakeholders offline when you wish to talk and magically online just as you wish to go offline.) So the solution comes back to e-mail.

As a Business Analyst (BA), which mode of communication is preferred and reliable (!!)? From past few months I am working across so many cultures – American, British, German, Italian , Mexican , Middle East and Indians . Through the way they communicate (emails , IM and telephone  calls) , the clear difference in styles made me believe it was due to the culture they inhibit. Later I closely observed within our Internal team , my manager always ping me to ask if it’s a good time to talk , if yes then please  come to meeting room and on the other hand  my team mates put everything on e-mails; CC manager . So is it the generation difference? Managers or the SME (subject matter expert) are more senior, experienced and are in more responsible positions, they need immediate responses. Whereas BA, the younger generation grow up with texting messages, find it reliable and follow the e-mail norm religiously. 

In my CBAP (Certificate Business Analyst Professional) training workshop classes, my trainer told me “BA is 70% communication skills and 30% technical skills”. I fully agree. It’s the way we communicate that earns us fame along with bread and butter. So whether you choose e-mails, Instant messenger or telephonic calls , make your message crisp clear ,make sure the  timing is right. Study stakeholders well (yes, this is the unsaid part of your job, accept it)to decide what they would prefer a e-mail or a short call.

In my opinion e-mail is the best way, marking all stakeholders to be on same page. It makes the documentation work easier too. And it will serve as a life line, if something goes wrong when anyone is on leave.

Coming back to leaves, I am working in IT industry and as most of you may have expected, my planned leave stands cancel. Sipping my coffee and a long to-do list , I am now deciding communication strategy – how to deal this with family?

Wish me luck.


We do Multitasking !


Image Courtesy : Think stock

I feel proud to carry out multitasking well and do it often on daily basis. It may seem to be a useful skill but believe me it’s dangerous at times.

Few weeks ago I had to cancel a critical business meeting due to non availability of the meeting room. I notified and apologized via email.

There was a major mistake – the subject line. It should be ‘cancelling our today’s meeting’ but it was ‘cencalling today’s meeting’. Though it was a typo error and later I defend myself that spell check doesn’t work on subject line.

The fact is, that it happened due to multitasking, executing many tasks at the same time surprisingly most of the receivers didn’t notice that, probably due to their multitasking.  🙂

I consider multitasking  a disease , an addiction that promises to get mostt of your time and leads fruitful results.

How  many of you practice more than it is required?

How many of you wish, not to do so?

And , How many of you  have faced it’s consequences? I am sure you have missed attachments in your mail or missed a stakeholder’s name by not marking him in  cc . Even giving a long pause while on client call , coz you were either chatting on IM or planning a tea break after the call .

I asked above questions in my last team meeting , I was happy , I was not the only one . Phew!!!

Doing several things at once is a trick we play on ourselves, thinking we’re getting more done. In reality we are reducing our productivity by 40% . We don’t actually multitask. We switch-task, rapidly shifting from one thing to another, interrupting ourselves not productively, and losing time in the process.

You might think you’re different, that you’ve done it so much you’ve become good at it. Practice makes a man perfect  and all that.

But you’d be wrong. In contrast to almost everything else in your life, the more you multitask, the worse you are at it. Practice, in this case, works against you.

I decided to  experiment, a shorter one. I had back to back meetings few days back, starting from noon till evening. Earlier I would have been under stress, recalling all the artifacts and managing lunch in b/w .But this time I just tried to focus. I put my ‘soul mate’ on silent mode,.

FYI , I call my mobile phone my soul mate 🙂 🙂 , coz it sticks with me every time. And by silent mode I mean – the light only mode. Surprisingly I got hold of so many things.

  1. Stress level dropped. When you reassure to finish one thing before going to next you feel liberated.
  2. You gain tremendous patience, for things that were useful and enjoyable. You listen to the presenter with no rush. When you are brainstorming about a difficult problem, you stick to it, so nothing else competes for your attention and you will be able to concentrate on the one thing you were doing.
  3. You loose all patience for things you feel were not a good use of your time. A meandering pointless conversation was excruciating. Texting through SMS seems rude between meetings.
  4. There is no downside. I had to attend all the meetings in 6 hrs and that includes my lunch time. I may have finished them doing multitasking, while attending a meeting and making a list to discuss in next, may be sending a note to my client. But then I wouldn’t have focused on the ongoing meeting. As I was experimenting  with myself , I analyzed that I completed everything in same time and enjoyed  supper though not lunch delightfully as there was nothing else to engage my mind and attention 🙂

 PS :

Sometimes, it is simply impossible to resist a little multitasking, but it must be done.

 But if you wanna improve time management in this multitasking world. Here are 10 important tips by Penelope Trunk.

Would love to know about your experiences ? Please drop a note.

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