News and Events

Speaking of which

December 5, 2013
Written by Mark Keller, director of college advancement
Featured in"On Campus" in the Medicine Hat News

Technology continues to advance but I’m not certain that our ability to communicate clearly has kept pace.

A couple weeks ago, for example, I used Twitter to direct message a person whom we thought might be interested in Rattlers sponsorship. I admit that the person’s Twitter account was the only contact I had, but after a few painful moments of sharing miniature messages we exchanged phone numbers and, get this, actually spoke to one another. Bliss.

And just last week I sat at my desk composing the perfect business email. The subject line was crisp and to the point. The introduction polite but firm; it offered understanding of the situation but suggested there were guidelines in place that had to be followed.

I then went on to offer a few sentences that described the context of the situation as I saw it, followed by a paragraph or two on the existing rules, and finally a concluding statement that suggested I’d be open to changing the guidelines if new information or situations emerged.

The closing was professional but friendly.

Before hitting ‘send’ I read that message and changed a word or two. I rephrased a section to be sure the reader wouldn’t think I was being testy or expressing frustration. I used spell check and then double checked to catch errors like using too in place of to or two.

I hate to be boastful but that email was capable of earning the Pulitzer Prize for college emails, if only such an award existed.

But after reading it yet again, I got up off my chair, walked 30 meters and had a quick talk with my email recipient. We laughed. I drew a stick figure in a circle and gestured. We laughed again, issue non-existent, relationship solid, business concluded. Time invested: far less than required to write that email.

Having a face-to-face conversation often beats the best I can offer using email, Twitter or Facebook.

So if you’re interested in starting a conversation about the college, face-to-face or otherwise, I have an offer for you. Our interim president, Dr. Robert McCulloch, known on campus as “Bob”, is happy to visit your group to talk about the many exciting things happening on campus. The college will gain too by learning more about what’s happening in the community.  

Let’s talk! or @mark_mhc on Twitter.

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