May the Spirit Never Die

Great Communication

By Carrie Bailey, Executive Board Member

These days, communication is so easy with emails, texting, Facebook and even Snapchat! When I was in college we had phones that plugged into wall jacks with cords that attached to the base, ugh! It was the beginning of email which was not used all that much. So either you called someone on the phone or you went and found them and that was it. Nowadays we can communicate with everyone at any point and not even have to leave the couch to do it. So why does it feel like no one is communicating effectively? Here are a few things I feel are important to remember in order to communicate effectively.

Email

I feel this is the most commonly used form of communication for everyone, including the workplace. When emailing it is very important to be aware of to whom you are sending it to. If it’s just a casual email to friends or family then formality isn’t as important, but all other emails should be formatted like a letter. They should have a formal greeting, a body and then a closing. It’s also good to be friendly and ask how the recipient is doing.

When replying to emails keep the same format, but be sure to answer all questions asked, so often I receive responses that only answer some of the questions I asked and that can be very frustrating. Take your time and re-read the email to be sure you have thoroughly responded to all questions. If there is more than one person included in the email, be sure to “Reply All” when responding. There is a reason there are more than one person on the email chain so it is very important that everyone stays included in the loop.

Follow up on emails if you haven’t had a response within 3-5 days. Sometimes we rely too heavily on technology to be fool proof, but glitches do happen, so it’s good practice to follow up.

Text

Texting can often be very convenient, but it’s not always the best means of communication. Often it can be misinterpreted because we write in such short and fragmented ways. When you are texting be sure the recipient knows who you are. I often get texts from clients wishing to book appointments and they just assume I know who it is, but I don’t!

Phone

There are many times where a phone call is the most effective way to communicate. I think for many, calling someone has become a hassle or inconvenience, but when you actually speak to someone you can get a lot more accomplished in that call then back and forth texts and emails will. I find it to be extremely valuable to be able to read a person’s tone and for them to do be able to do the same. This is especially important if you are dealing with an issue or problem that can escalate into be a confrontation or emotional issue. If you don’t reach the person you are trying to call, leave a message. Pretty simple I know, but I see or hear many people that do not bother to leave a message intending to try again later but they forget. Then it takes that much longer to accomplish whatever it was that they were calling for.

Facebook

This has become a very common way for everyone to communicate, but it’s not always the best way to do so. If you are trying to be professional, then it certainly should not be the main form of communication. It can however be a great last resort. If I can’t get a hold of someone I will often send a message through Facebook and I usually will get a pretty quick response. Sometimes I’ll just shoot a FB message just to let that person know I sent an email or left a voicemail for them.

24 Hour Rule

This is a very important rule to try to live by If you can get yourself in the habit of doing this now it can carry over to helping you in your career and life. The 24 hour rule is that you will do everything you can to reply to all emails, phone calls, or texts within 24 hours of receiving them. Sometimes this can’t happen as life get crazy and hectic, but if you make it a habit to sit down at some point each day and respond to everything it gets easier to do so. It’s important to note that even if you don’t have the answers for the person at the moment just a quick reply to say you received it and are working on the answer will suffice.

The most important thing to remember about communication is to be thorough, timely, and professional.

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