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Talking Time

·1 min

I’ve been working on the Launchpad team for a while, with most of that time being in Australia. Others in the team are in the US (red states & blue states), the UK, Germany, Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, Serbia, Lithuania and Thailand.

Here are some tips I’ve picked up for smoother online conversations, particularly around scheduling.

  • Don’t say “summer” or “fall”. Say the month, or the range of months.
  • Say “my morning” rather than “the morning”.
  • Use 24-hour time.
  • In real-time conversations, say “in 2 hours time” rather than “at 10”.
  • Always include the timezone. Avoid using local abbreviations (e.g. PST), instead use offset from UTC.
  • Better still, just give the time in UTC.
  • Know your UTC offset.
  • Use a timezone-aware meeting planner. You’ll get the arithmetic wrong otherwise.
  • Say “Oct 7” rather than 10/7 or 7/10. Everyone speaks English, but not everyone uses your dialect.
  • The time that you end a meeting is more important than when you start it. Thoughtfully consider the timezones of other attendees when you are planning for & participating in meetings.

Violating these rules isn’t a big deal, since people can generally figure out what you mean. Following them, however, can speed things along and sometimes even avoid tedious conversations.