The recent pandemic situation has been a graceful reminder to many of us of the importance of communication skills. With social distancing and more remote working, we have resorted to digital communications, creating situations where text and written words can speak volumes. Many have taken to video-conferencing services to fill the gap that was once occupied by inter-office discussion. These changes to our normal routines have once again prodded us to be more aware of how we are communicating with others.
Tips for efficient business communications
Most of us know the value of face-to-face interactions. Speaking to a coworker or client directly helps to set the tone and develop rapport. But in a time of social distancing, many of us must resort to digital communications to help keep ourselves and others protected. Even so, the show must go on! Here are some tips for efficient business communications.
- Aim for clarity and precision: In-person discussions help to convey meaning through non-verbal cues. When those are not present and you must opt for written communications, it’s important to be even clearer and more concise to avoid any misunderstandings. Read your email or text with the eye of a critic and provide additional detail where necessary.
- Don’t be afraid to add in a little personality: Being concise doesn’t mean you have to be boring. When we resort to mostly digital communications, life tends to get a little dull. Don’t be afraid to add in some of your personality with friendly discussion and small talk.
- Read your message aloud before sending: Yes, we are recommending the old tried-and-true method of reading your correspondence aloud. Not all of your emails need to be polished to the point of a professional writer’s standards, but it’s a good idea to weigh your audience and give it a read aloud before hitting send. It might just save you some later embarrassment if any unwanted auto corrects or communication missteps make their way into the sent version.
- Choose your medium wisely: Just because you can’t have a conversation across a table doesn’t mean you have to opt for email. Many companies use messaging apps such as Microsoft Teams or Slack in addition to email. The standards for communicating over these channels are often less formal than email. If you need a formal response, try email. If you have a quick question, send a quick text via a messaging app. Depending on the nature of your message, choose the best course of action.
- Wait before responding: Let’s call this one the “30-minute rule”. If you encounter a message or email that initially prompts a negative response, take a step back and wait 30 minutes before responding. This allows you to fully weigh your response and avoid an emotional reaction that can further stoke a workplace disagreement.
- Remember to be kind: Remember that everyone is going through something that you may know nothing about. When all else fails, remember to be kind and offer help where possible. A little understanding goes a long way.
Effective communication helps you be more efficient while fostering workplace relationships. Take the time to be a good communicator!
Come join our team of leaders!