Whenever you start a new IM, please, do not do like this:
2017-06-01 12:32:12 you: Hi
2017-06-01 12:32:15 co-worker: Hello.
## CO-WORKER WAITS WHILE YOU PHRASE YOUR QUESTION
2017-06-01 12:34:01 you: I’m working on [something] and I’m trying to do [etc…]
2017-06-01 12:35:21 co-worker: Oh, that’s [answer…]
It would be just like if you called someone over the phone and when they answer you put them on hold (with even no music, which is worse).
Instead, you should do like this:
2017-06-01 12:32:12 you: Hi — I’m working on [something] and I’m trying to do [etc…]
2017-06-01 12:33:32 co-worker: [answers question]
Do you see the difference? Look at the time stamps…
You’re trying to be polite by not jumping right into the request, like you would do in person or on the phone. But Chat is neither of those things. Typing is much slower than talking. Instead of being polite, you are just making the other person wait for you to phrase your question, which is lost productivity.
The same goes for “Hello — Are you there?”, “Hi Bob — quick question.”, “Do you have a sec ?”, “yt?” and “ping”. Just ask the question!
If you feel it’s too direct to simply say “Hi” and ask the question, you can do something like this:
2017-06-01 12:32:12 you: Hi — if you’re not busy I was wondering if I could ask a question. I’m working on [something] and I’m trying to do [etc…]
Additionally, asking your question before getting a reply allows asynchronous communication. If the other party is away, and you leave before they come back, they can still answer your question, instead of just staring at a “Hello” and wondering what they missed.