Gone are the days of the telephone call. In today’s world, text and email are our main methods of communication which means, if we want to have an edge, we need to take its benefits and setbacks into consideration. Here are 10 things to keep in mind when messaging colleagues, clients and staff.
1 | Take a minute.
Responding in real time isn’t always the best way to get a clearly thought point across. If you receive a message, take a moment to take it in and compose a thoughtful and clear response. Rapid-fire responses can come across sloppy, dismissive and even aggressive.
2 | Greet people properly.
Good manners are not only for in-person meetings and voice calls. A clear subject line, a proper greeting and a pleasant sign off will all go a long way in making you look and sound polished, pleasant and professional.
3 | Set the tone.
Remember that there are no facial expressions or voice inflections in words on a screen. This means that your words can be taken in a number of ways which can cause quite a bit of miscommunication and even fear and upset. If you must give negative news, do so in the kindest way possible and open the door for a quick verbal conversation.
4 | Read it through.
Typos, missing words and poor grammar make you look unprofessional and will cause you to lose credibility. Use spell check to your advantage and read your messages over at least once (twice if you are prone to mistakes!).
5 | Excessive punctuation and all caps are an eyesore.
“!!!” “……” are a NO!!!!!!!!
6 | Colored text.
7 | Do not “reply all” unless absolutely necessary.
Is there anything worse than receiving 20 one-word responses on an email chain?
8 | Ghosting is rude.
We can’t always respond immediately, but letting days go by without letting the sender know you have received their message is dismissive and rude. Try and reply within 24 hours, and if you need more time to follow-up, let them know.
9 | Double-check the spelling of names.
Getting someone’s name wrong is the quickest way to show they don’t matter. Never assume. Make sure it’s John and not Jon. It’s never “Johnny” unless you are specifically told it is by the person themselves.
10 | Be careful with forwards and “looping people in.”
A client seeing interoffice exchanges is never a good thing and yet it’s one of the most common mishaps made in offices. Better to start a fresh chain than to add email addresses to existing ones.