I set a goal some time ago to write once a week and publish it here on my website. For the past few weeks I've been sharing one of my five rules for measuring my daily success—be available, engage, respond, follow-up, and share knowledge freely. Last week I accidentally went out of order and posted my thoughts on the importance of following up and this week will continue with what should have been the fourth list item—respond.
Let me just dispel the myth for you right now, 100+ unread messages is not a badge of nobility, it's a badge of laziness! I don't care how much you do in business over a given year, how many products you've designed, or what Fortune 500 company you work for, real people are awaiting your response. Give it to them.
The most important thing to remember is that YOU ARE in the communication business. I don't care if you're a photographer, a chef, a restaurant owner, an architect, or a consultant—communication is numero uno!
I have shared about this on my blog before so I won't go too much in to depth this time, but the fact is if you don't respond someone else will. That's why it's so important. Frankly there are hundreds of other people that do what you and I do. If you make it hard for people to get ahold of you, they're going to find someone else to work with who will out-bid you, faster, and twice as good.
Be available, engage, and respond. Make sure the people you're working with know that you care and you're invested. It's a pain to deal with someone that is not.
If you have questions or comments about being available, engaging, and responsive—email me firstname.lastname@example.org, I'd love to hear from you!