If I need to connect with a friend my preferred method of contact is always text. Calling is such a bother and once you get into a conversation the entire process is prolonged. Who has time for that? Plus, I usually get an instant response. Perfect. Sounds cold but this is true for most people. We talk when we meet – hopefully. None of us want to be one of those people constantly consulting their phone when meeting with friends or worse clients!
For business, my first choice is always email. Less of an instant response but the percentage is high that a response will be provided quickly. This is a bit more stressful because instant response gratification has become somewhat of a norm.
Social media is another good resource for “instant response gratification”. A post from a personal account almost always gets an instant like from someone. A post from a business account is hit or miss but it is more of a supplementary communication tool so it’s forgivable.
Still Writing Letters, but Watch your Etiquette!
Okay so now that we have established that e-communication is hot, how do we apply that favorably in order to streamline our work but avoid becoming robotic and impersonal? Everyone likes to get immediate feedback. Customers and candidates do not want to wait for an answer. That is the plus to communicating electronically. Everyone always seems to be available. The drawback is that it can lead to some confusion and lack of clarity. The positive is that it can lead to less confusion and more clarity. Huh?
Let’s break this apart. With the steady stream of messages, especially emails, many messages are missed just because everyone is dealing with high volume or they read between the lines of what is sent. The other caveat is that you always have to be careful of what you put in writing.
Everyone is not especially talented in the written word and how you communicate is always an indication of your professionalism or lack of. Grammar, spelling, and content should always be checked for correctness. In this hurried world, which is why we are communicating in this way to begin with, some of the basic rules of written communication are often violated.
It’s interesting because in days of old everyone wrote letters. Today we are back to writing letters it is simply that the delivery is much quicker. That being said, written communication is nothing new. The rules have not changed.
Have you ever sent an email to someone that should not have been on the recipient list because you mis-keyed and accidentally included them? This has happened to most of us and it’s not something that we are proud of. Apologies are usually in order but once the “send” button is pressed there is not much that can be done.
It is the same story with attachments. How many times has this happened? You boast a litany of reasons why the recipients need to check out the document as soon as possible only to have someone send you that dreaded message, “No attachment”. Ughh. Painful every time! Always attach before writing your message to help avoid this issue.
The problem with all electronic communication is that you cannot take it back, just like that letter or card you popped into the mailbox. That is why it is very important that you do some planning with every message that you write. Yes, every message. Even your personal Facebook® posts can have an impact on your business life.