We don't have a lot of rules here at The Word Factory. But here's one we do have:

Thou shalt not let a message go unacknowledged.

(Or, since Steve likes us to state things in the positive, "Acknowledge all messages").

This goes for email and text messages along with vmail. We make sure that even if we don't have time to respond in full we at least acknowledge receipt. This can be as simple as a "got it", "thanks" or, when necessary, "I'll get back to you on this by XXX".

Beyond a common courtesy (that's all too uncommon), it's good business. It shows that we're responsive, and it keeps people from wondering if we got their messages. I know we're all busy, but is anyone really too busy to send back a "roger that" or other short acknowledgement. No, we are not! And it's a little paying it forward for the old Golden Rule. Maybe if we do it for others, more of them will do it for us!

We're not always perfect at this, but just being vigilant about it has reduced stress and uncertainty. And that's always a good thing.