Are your messages efficiently ineffective?

Dear Mr. Blogger,

I would like to gain some benefit from the hard work you have put into creating and maintaining your blog but before I can do so, I need you to do a little homework for me. Please send me a list of the topics you like to post on your blog, the number of words you like in a post and any other requirements.

You would never write an e-mail like this, right? I’ve obviously been a little sarcastic above, but you would be surprised how often I receive messages that, when you read between the lines, communicate this message.

I often write (gripe?) on this blog about efficiency vs. effectiveness. In general, I believe we should work on making our own processes efficient but when it comes to working (and communicating) with people, we should focus on effectiveness.

This is the actual text (signature excluded) of the email I received today that prompted this post:


Do you accept guest post submissions for

If so, what are your topical and other requirements please?

That’s the entire message. Now if I have a list of websites or blogs, I can be highly efficient at sending out requests – I could do thousands a day with the push of a button. Will I find any takers? Maybe. Will they be on high quality, relevant sites? Doubtful.

Now, suppose I used technology to help me narrow down the millions of blogs on the internet to a subset of the ones that are relevant to my audience, the topics I’m interested in, or people who would benefit from what I have to share. Once I had that smaller list, I could take some time to read those blogs, start a conversation with the author and determine if we could help each other meet our goals. Now will I find any takers? I think so. And I think they will be from owners of higher quality, more relevant sites than the ones I would get from the “blast it far and wide” approach.

Yes, being effective takes time. You may be able to free up some time by eliminating or avoiding spending time becoming more efficient at being ineffective.

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