8 Tips for Better Business Communication

Get Your Email Etiquette On

Email. Everybody’s doing it. It’s here to stay. Yet so many manage to do it oh-so-badly. I chalk this up to the growing pains of emerging technology but I think it’s high time we reach consensus on the basics. We’re all busy and saving each other time and frustration is simply the respectful choice.

With that in mind, I present to you

8 Tips for Better Business (and Personal) Communication

1-Mean what you say—Be prepared to follow through, commit only when you can, and meet agreed upon deadlines.

2-Say what you mean—To the best of your ability, use the wealth of vocabulary and sentence structures at your disposal to communicate your meaning as clearly as possible. Re-read your message before sending and edit if needed.

3-Communicate the message fully—Don’t waste time with half-answers or offering only part of the relevant information in an email, creating many needless communications that could often be resolved in three:

1) “This?”

2) “Yes, this.” or “No, but that.”

3) “Ok.”

This applies to texts, as well; the send function is not a period.

4-Do not sacrifice accuracy for a false sense of urgency—If you need more information, would be better equipped to answer later, have to check on scheduling first, or the like, wait to respond to minimize confusion and useless communications.

5-Continue the conversation—Don’t reply to an ongoing conversation in a whole new email thread—reply to the existing thread so all previous information is accessible to all parties.

6-Refer questions to the existing conversation—When a topic’s been covered in email, have the decency to scroll down if you’re unsure, rather than making the other party repeat what’s been said.

7-A brand new topic requires a brand new email subject line.

8-When in doubt, put it in writing—While phone and face-to-face conversations are best for establishing trust, when it comes to negotiating agreements, claims and complaints, business logistics, and dealing with difficult or forgetful people, having it in writing will spare you headaches later.

Photo credit: RaHuL Rodriguez via flickr cc<

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