Ask any successful business person what the key is to maintaining success and you’ll be told: Communication. We’ve heard this a thousand times, haven’t we? And of course we all know the basics of communication. But times are changing and we are living in a technological era. Most of our conversations are had over text, email, messenger, etc. We rarely pick up the phone and have long conversations anymore. Full words have been replaced with acronyms. Communication has gone from full thoughts to mere letters to imply thoughts.
Where does that leave us in the business world when trying to communicate successfully?
Most of the miscommunication in the workplace comes from the misinterpretation of meaning. In an email, we can only read words, statements, sentences. We are not able to read vocal inflection or intent of the sender. Likewise, when we send emails, we are sending words, sentences, statements. We are not able to send our intent or tone.
Here are some helpful tips to keeping communication open and maintaining happy business relationships. First, take a breath before reading emails. So often, we open mail in the midst of some busy moment and we are already multitasking and preoccupied. Taking a moment to breathe before each email clears our minds of the myriad of things we may feel before even looking at the first word. Second, take a moment before replying. Make sure any reaction you have to an email or message is a reaction based on fact, not based on what you think the email implies. Third, and most importantly, read your emails twice before hitting send. Make sure your intent is coming across as clearly as possible. Be sure that you clear up any language that may come across as harsh to someone who will not be hearing how you’re saying what you’re saying.
Communication is a critical element in business and in life. When all else fails, go back to the cardinal rule: Treat others as you would like to be treated. This week, take a look through some of your email exchanges to see where you could have changed wording or taken something a different way. How can you improve communication in the future? Training yourself to be the most successful professional you can be never stops. Please share your thoughts with us on our LinkedIn and Facebook pages!