A few days ago, we kicked off National Business Etiquette week with some business etiquette training behaviors to try on for size. Now, we’re wrapping it up with our Top Seven Business Communication Tips, once again adapted from our friends at the Emily Post Institute.
- Quality is better than quantity. Sometimes what can be complicated to explain in an email or text can be much more easily communicated with a brief phone call. If you are using a written form of communication, keep it short, simple, and polite.
Be aware if it is public or private. More mistakes happen because people don’t think carefully about whether the communication they are about to send is a private communication or a public one. Could you post your communication on a bulletin board for anyone to read? If not, don’t email it, text it, leave it on a voicemail, tweet it, or blog it.
Communicate only with people you need to communicate with. Ah, the dreaded “Reply All”. Before you hit that button, ask yourself if you truly need to be filling the mailboxes of all the recipients on the email chain. If not, select only the ones who need the information, and give everyone else a break.
Proofread to avoid a focus on your mistakes. This goes for email and text messaging too. Look for proper grammar, word choice, and spelling. Mistakes may cause recipients to wonder about your ability to do the work for them if you can’t manage to send off a mistake-free, thoughtfully worded email.
The good communicator is a good listener. Take the time to really listen and consider other points of view within a communication, whether written or oral. So often we find ourselves just thinking about what we are going to say next — slow down and allow yourself to be impacted by the other half of your conversation.
Master your technology, don’t be a slave to it. People behaving rudely on their cell phones have affected us all, whether it’s talking too loudly in a public setting, or having someone check their texts or emails in the middle of your presentation. Don’t be that rude person. Turn your phone off, or set it to silent. That way you won’t be tempted.
- Let it simmer. The drafts folder or send later feature can be a lifesaver, especially when dealing with a sensitive or difficult issue. Rather than rapid fire back a response, let your reply simmer in the drafts folder, or schedule it to send in a few hours. Revisit your communication when cooler heads prevail, consider the tone, and think about perspective. Chances are a few edits may make the difference to help build the relationship.
There you have it! We hope you’ve enjoyed our National Business Etiquette Week. Remember, business etiquette is simply about building relationships, not about fussy or old-fashioned rules or restrictions. Use that Emotional Intelligence of yours; think before you act, make choices that build relationships, and do it sincerely. You’ll be a business etiquette expert yourself in no-time!