In a recent post, Manage To Change Ann Michael writes about how we can access information almost anytime, anywhere, and through multiple channels. Our access to people is perilously developing at the same level.
I use a BlackBerry, some people call it a 'crackberry' because it is so easy to be run by it if one is not too careful. Think about cell phones, wireless technology, pagers, etc. Just because it is so easy to get in touch with us, it does not mean people should do so for every little incident, whim and me-centered occasion. This is what we think, right?
Do we extend the same courtesy to others? Because of my visibility in professional circles, I often receive messages from people I do not know or may not have met. Sometimes the request is to get together or talk with no specific agenda in mind. Sometimes I get a resume with no cover note, no context, and no specifics of how I can help. And, to make things even more interesting, after I respond to suggest possible dates on my calendar and inquire on an agenda, I get no further communication. Fascinating. By the way, I suggest to always close communication loops. "I do not know what to say" or "I need help understanding what you're asking" are acceptable responses, if in a pinch.
Here's my take on access. We earn it. That's correct.
I believe a response from very busy people -- who isn't busy these days? -- is something that warrants work and diligence. I explained elsewhere that if we have any hope of connecting with someone, our communication should begin with permission. The thing is successful people are busy. They are busy not being successful, a common misconception. Truly successful people are busy doing the things they excel at and are passionate about. Honor that by being considerate of their time and efforts on your behalf. Find ways to earn a seat at their 'attention' table by being transparent on what you ask of them, doing your homework and being willing to follow through with your promises.
Access in modern currency is not a commodity. We are scarce on time and attention. We have plenty of stuff and noise. How do you distinguish yourself?