Say yes to hello

There is a trend right now (hopefully short-lived and limited), and it is blogged here:

In this article the theory presented is that by opening a conversation with a simple “hello” you are being inefficient in your communication. That you should open with the full text of your query: “hello. I need some help to get this technical problem solved. do you know how to fix the error 9102 in the web console?” otherwise you are making the other person wait for you to ask your question.

Whatever detailed, albeit undocumented, research went into this thesis it would be unwise to consider this as a new efficiency-driving business practise without taking a minute to consider some opposing arguments.

  1. In many cultures it is more than just impolite to jump straight into a question without a  greeting and sometimes even asking about general well-being. This could leave you in a different communication situation, where the other partner does not feel 100% inclined to jump to your assistance as soon as you finish typing your IM.
  2. IM is that. IM. It is a very fast means of sending short messages. Reducing this to one sentence in the hopes of speeding this communication form up any further is rather pointless.
  3. In some cultures it is also considered impolite to extend a simple greeting and wait for a response before proceeding with your request, as in the example in the “no hello” blog.

To sum up, it is far more important to understand who you are trying to communicate with, what they deem to be polite and impolite, how you yourself would wish to be spoken to, than try to apply blanket measures, thought up on a scrap of paper with no counter-arguments and pass these off as a business-minded approach to communicative efficiency.

Stifling language impairs communication. Just my thoughts on the matter, with at least as much, if not more, consideration as it presumably took to come up with the opposing argument.