Technology has enabled us to easily communicate with anyone from anywhere at anytime. But it’s this convenience that often leads people to make embarrassing mistakes that may be detrimental to their professional reputation. After all, how you communicate with others greatly affects the way they perceive you.
Tips for professional communication
How to ask: You start with what you need, followed by the reason – why you are making the request, and lastly a sign of appreciation. For example, I need you to be in the office promptly at 8am for the scrum training. Thank You.
How to instruct: Give a clear understanding of the end result, the role the individual has to play, and the condition of being accountable like; the benchmarks along the way, deadlines, etc.
How to say No: The message should be passed across in this three steps: Understand -> Situation -> Alternative. For example, I understand X (X=your paraphrasing of what they are asking you to do). Here is the situation (explain the policy, etc.). Here is what I can do instead…. You should then repeat this (in different forms) as many times as necessary.
Responding to Criticism – AAA: Address the mistake (example: “You’re right….”) -> Apologize (sincerely) -> Accept responsibility (example: “It won’t happen again.”)
Showing Appreciation: Most important motivator for most employees is showing appreciation. For example, I really appreciate the fact that you stayed late to help me finish this project. Thank you so much.
Below covers the areas for direct communication like; emails, phone, skype, instant messaging and texts.
Be Aware Of Your Speaking Volume – Some people just don’t know how loud they are, especially when their attention is focused on the person on the other line.
Don’t answer Your Phone When Meeting With Others – If you answer a call, you are basically telling the person you are meeting that someone else is more deserving of your time than they are.
Don’t Place Your Phone On The Table When Meeting Others – Otherwise, it looks like you are ready to drop them and connect with someone else.
Let The Other Person Know When You Have Them On Speakerphone – If you must put someone on speakerphone, make sure you immediately let them know who else is in the room with you.
Use A Professional Email Address – Never use email addresses (perhaps remnants of your grade-school days) that are not appropriate for use in the workplace, such as “diva@…” or “babygirl”.
Use Exclamation Points Sparingly – If you choose to use an point, use only one to convey excitement.
Think Twice Before Hitting “Reply All” – No one wants to read 20 emails that have nothing to do them.
Be Cautious With Humor – What may be funny when said out loud can come across differently when written. When in doubt, leave it out.
You Should Know The Person – If you only know the person through social media but have never actually met them, you shouldn’t IM them.
Keep The Conversation Short – If the message will require the receiver to take time to hint about their response, you might want to send an email or call them instead.
Never Send bad News Through IM – IM is too casual a medium to have an important conversation, particularly one that’s negative.
Be Careful With Abbreviations – Shortcuts are more common today, but make sure it’s appropriate for “u” to be that informal.
Don’t change Meeting Times Or Venues In A Text – Potential attendees may not check their phones in time.
Look At The Camera – Looking at the computer screen will make it seem like you are looking down, but when you look directly at the camera, you will appear to be looking your contact in the eye.
Don’t Gesture Too Much – Although such expressiveness may be acceptable in person, it may be too much when you fit it all in one window.
Respect cannot be demanded, but only be earned!