Some months ago there was an entry about keeping things simple. Last week I sent few emails with Scott Miller about a possible interview. I asked whether he would be interested in answering to few questions.

He replied: Sure. Nothing else in the email, just simple & right-to-the-point answer that he could do it.

I found this reply brilliant. I sometimes tend to start talking and writing unnecessary things, and simply asking the other person to listen more than is necessary. Sometimes I simply could talk and write much shorter, like when I have something really important to say.

That’s why the reply from Scott really hit me. One word answer, and that’s it.

But – once again – that doesn’t mean one should always answer briefly. There’s room for not so official talk, and sometimes short answers might offend someone.

It’s okay to use common sense, sure.

P.S. Scott Miller’s interview will be online tomorrow, be sure to check then…

6 thoughts on “Sure

  1. Ville

    Yes indeed. These days I endow all customer mails with an additional line, something on the lines of “thank you for contacting us”. It’s what they’re expecting, even if the real answer is a simple “sure”.

  2. Eric Fortier

    It all depends on the context of the conversation that takes place, of course. I would much rather have people be as verbose as possible while talking about the design of a map in a game or while having an important programming discussion and a much more concise dialogue with someone talking about the weather ;)

    I worked with too many people that would use a one liner where a fuller answer was warranted. Or what about emailing a co-worker with information that you know requires more clarifications but get a “No prob” reply!

  3. Juuso Hietalahti Post author

    @Ville: Auch… which part of this you missed: ;)

    But – once again – that doesn’t mean one should always answer briefly. There’s room for not so official talk, and sometimes short answers might offend someone.

  4. Ville

    I agree with being terse and to the point.

    Once I got a support request, a few pages worth of texts with a simple answer in the end. Something on the lines of: Bla bla bla bla, , will you fix this bug?
    My answer was simply: Yes.
    Guess whether I got an angry mail back, again some two pages long. Gladly that one wasn’t a paying customer. :)

  5. Juuso Hietalahti Post author

    @moi: I didn’t give you the exact details. I asked him whether he would be interested and then explained that the interview would be conducted via emails and put online within weeks. For this specific occasion reply “Sure” fit very well.

    And… there is an google ad before the response box, that’s why it might look bit odd (another reason why one shouldn’t use ad blocks ;) I’m currently testing different ad positions to see which one work best.

  6. moi

    OTOH a more detailed answer could have been more to the point with schedule detail, points he would like to talk in the interview, etc,etc… I for one would feel a bit unsettled by a one word answer.
    Anyway, why is the comment line (“post comment – send”) separated from the main article body by a google adword block? Wouldn’t it be better if the ad block was after?


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