Is this the most help I can give in this moment?

“Is this the most help I can give in this moment?” That is the question I’m asking myself during small interactions.

It started because of the fast-paced nature of my work environment. My companies are virtual, and while I think that’s an amazing way to manage a company, it has its drawbacks. Working virtually lends itself to quick, and often careless, communication.

Has this scenario ever happened to you? You are in the middle of something and in the zone, but somehow, some way, you find yourself in your inbox. You see an email from a co-worker asking a question. You half read the email, think you understand the question, and fire off a response. Your co-worker gets the response. It isn’t helpful. They follow up with another question, and the cycle continues.

I find myself on both sides of that scenario too often. I finally realized when I’m the one hastily checking email and firing off responses if I can force myself to pause and ask “is this the most help I can give in this moment?” it dramatically improves the quality of my response and my overall helpfulness.

Asking the question helps me slow down and think. It usually makes me give more detail and context around my answer, meaning that follow up questions are unnecessary, saving time.

In asking “is this the most help I can give in this moment?” I’m asking if there is a small additional step I can take to make someone’s day a little better. At times there is nothing more I can do in that moment, which is fine. But, when I can spare an extra 30-seconds to give someone more help, it goes a long way.

Photo by J W on Unsplash