Communication is all around us – even when you’re a solopreneur you HAVE to come out of your cave now and again and communicate. For some of us this is easy – the extroverts, party animals and such like. For others it is a real challenge.
They say you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. Here are some good communication basics that will help both types, and all in between, to approach someone without appearing to be a klux or giving offence.
1. Email subject line. Short, catchy and specific will get a quicker response than “following up” or “hi.” Let your readers know the topic – even if you are “following up” you can say what you’re following up on
2. Email message. In a business-related email, leave out the emoticons! Obviously it’s fine to put emoticons and smileys to family and friends – but for business emails, this just brings the tone down and may indicate that you are not “business like” and thus not good to do business with
3. Voice mail greeting. Smile when you record it. Listen to the difference it makes — it might surprise you. Make it short and snappy – remember the caller is often paying from the second your voice mail picks up. The caller needs to know they’ve got the right number and you’ll check (or not) your voice mails. Most other information is irrelevant at this point.
4. Phone calls. When you’re on a call, be present. It’s obvious — and disrespectful — when callers are distracted and multitasking. Yes, this applies to Skype too! Try standing up and moving away from your computer. The change in your voice will be apparent!
5. Conference calls. Remember to use Mute. You’ve been on those calls or hangouts where someone is munching, typing, or snoring, haven’t you? Isn’t it really annoying! And then there are all the other distractions – someone’s music, a baby crying or toddler playing. So, be sure it isn’t you that spoils the call and hit Mute
6. Conversations in person or by phone. It’s polite to allow the other person to finish their sentence. Yes, you may have something really important to say, but first, really listen to what the other person is saying. It may change what you have to say – or it may not, but at least you’ll have heard and understood where the other person is coming from.
7. Interrupt courteously. If it’s necessary to interject, try: “So allow me to stop you there…” Or, “To clarify, I’d like to ask…”.
8. Meetings. People know who’s listening and contributing — and who’s checking their cell phones – however sneakily you think you’re doing it. Respect the task at hand – respect the speaker – afterall, if it were you speaking, you’d like to think the others were listening!
9. Written communication. Tone of voice and physical clues are absent in a memo or an email so these have to be transmitted with the words you use. Use “please”, “thank you”, and other signs of manners in written communication.
10. All communication. Ask how the recipient prefers to be contacted. Your message will be received more effectively through the preferred channel. It only takes a moment to ask this and might change your communication from an annoyance or from being ignored altogether to one that is eagerly anticipated.
Author’s content used under license, © Claire Communications