A smile makes a difference

My current job responsibilities include ensuring data quality for our Microsoft Project Server 2010 application.  This means I get to bug and pester people to enter their data and enter it correctly.  My co-workers jokingly call me the “Enforcer” and I get a kick out of giving some people a bit of a hard time when they don’t get their information in the system on time, consistent with our standard procedures.

My role puts me in a tough position sometimes because I have to continuously push on people I know are busy and who have other, more important responsibilities.  People understand that I’m doing my job and I’m hounding them for a good reason.

Most of the people I deal with work in other locations in NY or Pennsylvania so I very rarely get to talk to people in person. I usually start with an email outlining what I need and if I don’t get a response I’ll use Microsoft Lync to instant message people and “hound” them.

smiley-face-mdIf I was communicating face to face with people I would be doing it with a smile on my face. To take the edge off my electronic communications, I am always sure to include a smile with my message.  Lync has a number of emoticons I can pick from but my favorites are the smiley and winking faces.  My job could make me into a bad guy, but I’m hoping my communications style keeps me from being a nag.smiley_outline_wink

Do smiles (icons or real ones) figure in your daily communications?


3 thoughts on “A smile makes a difference

  1. It’s uncanny reading this today, after just having had a discussion about this very thing only days ago. Since then, I’ve been offered a position, so there’s a distinct relevance to what we ‘lose due to the missing channels’ in our communications today.

    My recent discussion was focused on whether or not it was considered appropriate or proper for professional emails.
    Normally I would have felt fairly strongly that it was a poor idea. I’m 49, former USN, and a bit traditional in many ways.

    In some contexts, though, I’ve stuck my neck out, and am now reconsidering after recent direct experience.
    As a new CompSci graduate I regularly submitted a ‘spread’ of applications for positions ranging widely from Software Engineer/Developer, Junior, Entry-Level, and on into Tech Support, etc. I’m not proud, I’m hungry, and okay, eager 😉

    So anyway, a couple weeks ago there was a fast flurry of emails from Dallas(recruiter) and Rochester(agent) and Webster(hr), and I’m all excited…
    …but I’m completely uncertain of what specific position I’m being considered for, etc.

    When in doubt, I follow instinct, and in this case I sent out a fairly laughable email to the entire ‘queue’, in which I asked rather sheepishly which application-and-resume combination they were reading from. In a rather ‘humanist’ approach, I used a 😉 and a 🙂 here and there, almost as if a punctuation-esque way of communicating facial expression or intention (as I did at the end of the above paragraph).

    Part of me was quietly aghast when I sent that out, that it would be considered childish or improper.

    But, now having met 3 of the 4 folks in that email chain, I’ve had a chance to get some feedback.
    One- “haven’t bothered to figure those things out, yet. The kids use them like some secret language I think”.
    Two- “I didn’t really notice them ‘consciously’, but after looking at it again, it DOES lend a real clarity to each point”
    Three- “I saw your resume, and just assumed you we’re letting a little of your geek show” (hilarious).

    So, there’s recent experience where I used those basic ( my entire repertoire, by the way ) emoticons in a context where they made not be expected or appreciated, but the feedback shows either neutral or positive.

    Subsequently, I’ve moved farther along the process, accepted a position, and began the initial phase of my training today!

    • What a wonderful story Dave. I’m happy that your experience with a few emoticons worked out so well. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Yes they do. Often times, when I need to nag / push my children (those with cell phones are 4 of 6 children) about something, I nealy always will insert, not only a please & a thank you, but the familiar ” 🙂 “. I feel that it always smoothes out the rough edge of a “to do task” for our children. Oh – Mom included;)

    – Mark H. / Greece, NY

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