UPDATED: January 16, 2017, but originally written in 2011. You’ll see the changes. I left the old text because I found it kind of funny how much my communication styles, technologies, and culture has changed. 

This afternoon I shared a lovely meal with Jay Cousins who is one of the Palomar 5 fellows, a futurist, writer, facilitator and co-founder of the Open Design City in Berlin.

In conversation, I learned he’s into flow, energy and allowing as opposed to getting down to business within the limitations of traditional constructs. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t get anything done. Au contraire! He has an openness in leadership that gives other people permission to shine without his ego getting in the way. At least, that’s what I picked up through our chat.

After lots of discussion about innovation camps, motivating people and allowing individuals to grow, we started talking about communication styles. I noted that he obviously doesn’t like email and if you want to get in touch, just call. As evidence, he responded to my four paragraph email with:

Hey Chelsea
Sounds good, give us a buzz on [phone number removed] Startup Abroad looks very interesting.
Look forward to meeting you,

After that, I assumed he was interested in meeting, and preferred phone or face-to-face communication. I responded with a four word response and then we planned lunch over Skype.

The point is (and I’ll give Jay credit here) we all have a communication style and prefer to hang out somewhere different. For some of us, it’s generational, others preference.

We’re at an apex in technology and culture where rules and communication standards are personal. As opposed to three clear options: landline, in person or fax, we have a gazillion. With all of this choice: Facetime, Skype, phone, cell phone, Google Voice, email, SMS, location based push notifications, apps, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare (and the list goes on), it’s a wonder anyone communicates at all.

Enter your personal API. Jay is writing his, and I immediately jumped on writing mine today. How would someone reach me most effectively? Through which channels? At what time?

Would being transparent about this help all of us?

With all of that noisy introduction, let’s get to it.

My Communication API

On best way to get in touch

If you want to sync up over business related matters, send me an email explaining who you are and why you think we should meet up for lunch, coffee, etc. If you want something from me, be clear in how you think we might be able to collaborate or help each other out.

On Calling

If you want to show me that you care, call me. When I’m in the country, I can be reached at (415) 944-9015. Please leave a message as I rarely answer if I don’ know who is calling.

On Flaking

Unless you’re sick or something major came up, do not blow me off or flake.  As they say in the Four Agreements, “be impeccable with your word.” I’ll return the favor. If I tell you I’ll meet you in Spain in four months; I will. Working on being even more impeccable with my word in 2017, but please call me on it should I falter.

On Lateness

On the flip side of being impeccable with your word, I unfortunately have a tardiness gene. I’m in the process of trying hard to change that. At most, I’ll be 10 minutes late. I’d like to get that down to early. Tips? <— I’ve mostly grown out of this. I understand that it takes 30 minutes+ to get just about anywhere in the city. While I don’t like the idea of time, I do like the idea of making you feel respected and valued and I’ll do my best to actively show you that.

On Maybes

My maybes usually mean yes. If I won’t commit at all, it’s probably because I’m not sure what that time period is going to look like and I don’t want to fill up my schedule way in advance. I don’t like knowing what’s going to happen at every turn and appreciate the ability to be spontaneous. <— In 2017, with the advent of Facebook’s “maybe,” my maybes tend to show interest rather than an actual commitment. However, if I verbally give you a maybe and you’ve personally invited me to something, there’s still a 50/50 chance I’m showing up. While I don’t like to do too much in one day/evening or skip around too much, sometimes I can make multiple commitments work, which is most likely why I gave you a maybe.

On How I use Twitter

I use Twitter to talk about what I’m thinking in the moment. I also react to what other people say and occasionally ask questions. You can @ me to get in touch and I’ll respond rather quickly.  <— This too has changed. In 2017, Twitter is a bit of a ghost town. SMS is best if you have my phone number, next to Facebook messages. I typically accept Facebook friend requests if we have friends / initiatives / interests in common. Probably best to send me a request and a message, if you want to get in touch.

On How I use Facebook

Facebook is my friend bank and a place I solicit discussions with friends and business contacts. I don’t love Facebook emails but will answer them eventually. For the most part, Facebook seems like a giant waste of time. Who cares what color your baby pooped today? Let’s talk about something real in a real way.  As a side, I prefer to interact with family offline. And if you add me as a friend and we haven’t interacted in real life or have a reason to, I’ll probably ignore the request. <— My how much changes with time. I spend much more time on Facebook these days, though, I do try to make it productive time. In fact, I wrote this quick post on 5 ways to help you quit Facebook habit. Regardless, I do a lot of interpersonal and business messaging (especially the beginning of conversations) on Facebook. And I friend my family now. <3

On How I use LinkedIn

LinkedIn feels like a hollow ghost town, highly outdated for my needs. All that aside, it’s another good professional contacts bank to store people I want to keep in touch with long term. I accept most LinkedIn requests unless they look spammy. <— Mostly still true, although, I have found more value in LinkedIn, especially the search function in the past few years – also great that I can access my contacts email directly. I find this very useful.

On How I use Quora

I follow topics on Quora for things I’m interested in business-wise. So far I haven’t asked any questions. I’ve answered a few questions too.

On How I use Instagram

Instagram is where I share what I am doing and how I am feeling through photos. Between Twitter and Instagram, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what I’m up to and what I am thinking about. Follow sharingchelsea on Instagram to connect. <— This is still true. Instagram is where I tell the story of my life, the most personal details, photos of friends, family, conferences, etc.)

On How I use Skype

Skype is useful for meetings, calls and catching up, but I don’t like chatting (accept on rare occasion). In 1997, chatting was sooooo fun. I spent hours having mindless conversations… a/s/l anyone? If we’re both free, let’s do a quick call instead. I like Skype more than traditional phones since I can pick up on so much more than your words. <— Ha, no one chats on Skype unless they are on a call these days, so this is a bit more irrelevant. If you want to catch me on Skype, I’m chelsea.rachelle. Also, I really like FaceTime and Facebook Audio – sound clarity is great. So, that’s an option as well.

On My Texting Skills

Texting is ok (read: I’m terrible at it).I remember the first time a guy asked me out via text I called him up and chewed him out. Either way, I’ll respond to texts within the same day, but usually not immediately. Please don’t try to have full on text conversations with me via text. I’d rather hear your voice or meet in person. I don’t really use Foursquare or Gowalla, although sometimes I’ll check in through Instagram. <— Ignore all of that. Today, I’m still a lackluster texter. I get overwhelmed by communication and often don’t respond until that passes. This is nothing personal… I just like to be able to focus where I am, when I am.

On My Reluctance to Postal Mail

I find sending mail through the post office really difficult. You’re much more likely to receive communication from me online or in real life. You probably won’t receive a greeting card unless I’m able to hand deliver the message. <– Addendum: If you’re my mom, I make special exceptions. She’s my hero and loves handwritten, postally delivered cards, so I get my butt to the post office.

On How I use Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing is a community where I share experiences mostly through groups. I like meeting travelers from around the world and this particular community shares the common thread passion, curiosity and openness toward sharing with perfect strangers. <– Unfortunately, I feel like Couchsurfing has gone through many, many changes, evolutions, revolutions, etc. I don’t find as much value in the network as I used to, but that doesn’t mean that can’t change. Couchsurfing is one of the best things to ever happen to the internet. In fact, I was one of 3 subjects in the documentary One Couch at Time.

On Social Networks that Died

If I’m in the mood to try new restaurants and see who I meet along the way, I’ll attend a grubwithus dinner in San Francisco. <– This company has since passed away, which makes me sad because this was an awesome way to meet new people and try a new restaurant at the same time.

I probably attend half of what Plancast says I’m going to. I use Plancast to plan, not so much to broadcast. <– Again, the company died. Someone could pick up the slack here and start another events company as Eventbrite is really nothing special.

On Spontaneity vs. Planning Ahead

I value spontaneity, randomness, surprise, serendipity and getting together last minute as much as I do planning. <— STILL TRUE!

As I’m rather busy most of the time, it’s probably good to plan to hang out or have a business meeting if you really want to get in touch. Plus, planning ahead shows you value my time.

On Gratitude

Thank you’s go a long way. I appreciate appreciation. <— And I appreciate, appreciating you! Words mean a lot to me. I’m very verbal and as the Italians say straight (as in straight forward). If you express what you’re thinking and feeling clearly, I will be able to connect with you better.

On Possibility / Openness / Optimism

I believe anything is possible and prefer to spend my time hanging out with people who agree. <– This has changed a bit. I am still a possibilitarian, but we must see what’s there and act accordingly. Choosing not to see doesn’t make you smarter. I know I’ve been guilty of that in the past.

On What Makes Me Like People

As long as I’m surrounded by passionate people, I don’t care what we’re doing. I really enjoy people who are living on purpose, for a purpose. <– Purpose is a loaded word, but the same sentiment is still there.

Woah, that was complicated! Still want to get in touch?! 
SMS/phone: (415) 944-9015
Skype: chelsea.rachelle


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