When someone sends a communiqué (and I use that broad term deliberately), let them know you got it.

We're all flooded with messages every day. We can avoid muddying the waters further by promptly acknowleding receipt. (photo by me, c 2007)

It may seem like a small thing, but given how many people I know are talking about it, I'd say it's bigger than you might think.

We're all busy. We have a bunch of balls in the air and we like to know that our messages about those balls have been received. I'm not saying you have to respond with a full answer immediately, but I don't think it would kill any of us to quickly shoot back with a "got your message" or "OK" at the very least.

If applicable, I include a time by which the sender can expect a proper reply. And whenever possible, I try to respond via the same channel the sender used. So if you send me an email, I try to respond via email. If you leave a vmail, I try to respond via voice or text to that device.

While this may seem like one of those out-moded common courtesies, the truth is, it's turned out to be a big time-saver. Why? Because it keeps people from calling or emailing or texting me to find out if I got their message. They spend less time tracking me down. I spend less time reading their prodding messages. Everyone wins. A bonus? You're deemed responsive and thoughtful. How's that going to hurt you? Exactly.