Tips for Practicing Good Communication
Communication is a part of our everyday lives but we typically lose sight of how important good communication is. Between email and text message exchanges, personal and professional communication blends together and ends up becoming one in the same. Since the two types of communication are no longer separated, why not practice good communication personally and professionally? How? Consider the following:
· Proofread your messages. Have you ever pressed send on an email then reread the messsage only to notice a typo? It happens to me all the time and I think to myself, “If only I had proofread my email.” Until Gmail creates an “unsend” feature, read your email two, three, and four times if necessary to ensure it is free of errors.
· Be genuine. People can usually sense your sincerity via email and text, even if they can’t hear your voice. Exclamation points are a nice way to add enthusiasm to your message but don’t overdo it (see tip #4). Using friendlier language and expressions can also spruce up a message but make it sound genuine. Consider using language you would use in regular conversation and be mindful of your tone (yes, emails have tones). Some words and phrases can come across as rude and if that’s not the tone you’re going for, don’t say it. This is also where proofreading comes into play.
· Get to the point. I work in public relations so I’m used to reading reports and one-pagers in a format that presents the challenge first, the approach second then the results last. 9 times out of 10, readers only care about the results. Why make them do so much digging to find one or two sentences explaining the results at the end? The same applies to email. Don’t use an excessive amount of jargon that your reader may not understand; it isn’t helpful. Greet your reader, pleasantly give them the exact information they need, sign, and send.
· Don’t overuse exclamation points. As I mentioned in tip #2, too many exclamation points can be overwhelming and insincere. I get it, you want to be enthusiastic over email but don’t frighten your reader.
· Be mindful of your reader. Consider what information you are trying to convey to the person on the other side of the computer or phone. What is it they care about? What do they want to know? What language would they understand? Be cognizant of the person you’re writing to and make an effort to include all of the information they need to receive an adequate answer to their question, a comprehensive explanation for a request, or a complete understanding of the information you are sharing.
Written by: Jenna Boyer