Saturday, June 17, 2006

Oh, Those PDAs!

My busy schedule forces me to write more and more e-mails on a tiny handheld device, or PDA (personal digital assistant). Its 4.5-square-centimeter screen usually makes focusing on the entire message difficult because I cannot have it entirely on view. Its 3-millimeter type size increases my chances of making typographical errors. Add to these problems the distracting environments in which I compose these messages: bumpy buses, noisy restaurants, crowded elevators, and busy corridors in major American cities.

These factors contribute to e-mails whose tone is definitely curt and whose details are possibly missing, inaccurate, or unclear. Here are three solutions, depending on the situation:

  1. Reread the message before pressing send.
  2. Return the e-mail with a phone call, whose give-and-take nature suits the circumstances.
  3. Wait until you return to the office, where you can write your response on a larger screen.

These PDAs should serve us in doing our job efficiently—not cause us new communication problems. We should use them wisely.

To purchase your copy of The Art of On-the-Job Writing by Philip Vassallo, click here: