Tuesday, March 25, 2008

What's the best way to contact?

So you're concerned about something. Lots of folks are talking about the KFUO incident. These are some words of advice for this (and other) situations where you have concerns. Use them.

The easiest (and thus most "ignorable" by those receiving it) is an email. I use email all the time with friends, but when I need to make a point (such as with this) I don't. It usually doesn't work. Your recipient, too, has a delete button. And they use it.

Next best is a physical letter. My younger friends may have heard of these: one prints out a missive on a dead tree carcass, inserts it in device called an envelope, and attaches a postal coupon to the outside. These tend to get noticed a bit better, if only because some poor secretary has to shred them.

Moving on up on the difficult-to-ignore scale are telephone calls. Don't be a wuss and call at 3 a.m., and leave a message on a voicemail. Call during the day, and tell whoever answers the phone what you are calling about, and kindly (don't be nasty: most of the time you're initially speaking with someone who had nothing whatsoever to do with what you're complaining about) ask to speak to someone about this matter. If you know a name, give the name. Go as high up as you dare. It's a good rule of thumb that the "higher" (I use this in a relative sense) the individual, the more likely they will dispatch someone beneath them to take care of what you're complaining about. (Thus, for example, if your local DMV will not deal with an issue -- and you've really tried to resolve it there! -- call the governor's office. They will have someone do it).

Next is a visit. Rules: Don't go in with a carbine. Dress nicely. Don't go in with a scowl. If you want to, just show up. Say, for example, that you would like to speak to President Kieschnick, even if that's sort of a lie. Odds are that you won't get to speak to President Kieschnick. But someone -- some pitiful underling -- will be dispatched to hear your complaint. Speak kindly to them, voice your concerns, make certain they take your name, address, and phone number, and -- again, kindly! -- say you'd like to get a written response.

The bottom line: the more "exposed" you seem, the more weight your communication carries. Everyone knows it doesn't take a lot of guts to send and email. But telephoning requires one to actually speak to someone. And visiting? Well, you actually have to bathe the night before.

I wouldn't wait for your pastor to call. He's busy, too. If you're concerned, go ahead and call. These people -- as much as you might dislike some of them -- are human like you, and they will at least make a show of listening. Make them listen. That's what they're paid the big bucks for.

No comments: