(photo credit: David Cosand)

If you need me to do something for you, the best way to get ‘er done is to send me an email. You can send me a text, but it’ll likely get buried and forgotten. You can leave me a voicemail…if you don’t mind waiting a few weeks until I remember that I never did anything with your voicemail. You can have a passing conversation with me in the hallway, drop me a note in the mail, DM me on Twitter, or leave a post-it on my desk, and it might just get done. But nothing is as effective as a request via email.

For all of my digital to do lists and productivity hacks, nothing works as well or is as (almost) foolproof as my inbox. My daily goal is to hit Inbox Zero. And I don’t delete it or move it until I’ve taken some sort of action on it: answer it, put it on my calendar, etc.

So why does that matter?

Well, it doesn’t, if there’s nothing you need from me. But there’s someone you’re going to communicate with today. There’s an “ask” you’ll need to make: be it of a co-worker, a client, a spouse, or a friend. And if you don’t know their preferred communication gateway, your request may be doomed from the beginning.

If you’re a leader, chances are good that different people on your team have different styles. One person may be able to keep up with a random string of text messages; another may be more comfortable with a pad and pen in a face to face meeting. Caring about their preference means you care about their success, so do what it takes to figure it out. It’ll pay off for both of you.

So what’s your preference? Comment below, if you’d like. Just don’t leave me a voicemail.