Don’t Let Email Do Your Talking For You

Don’t Let Email Do Your Talking For You

 

Before the Bell

In the past if you wanted to communicate with someone you got yourself in front of that person and spoke to them directly. If you had time to wait you could also have sent them a letter. Then Alexander Graham Bell came along and the telephone was added to our list of possible ways to communicate.

 

When there were only three ways to communicate, in person, by telephone or by letter which do you think was the most effective?

 

Face to face communication was, because it included smiles and eyes which are windows to the soul. It also features facial gestures and body language attitude – which by the way is contagious, and all sorts of non-verbal cues.

 

A communication explosion

Fast forward to today and suddenly we’re bombarded with so many more ways to communicate, email, text message, voice mail, video conference. With so many different ways to communicate with each other it’s kind of tempting not to bother getting into a room with someone when we can just as easily stay right where we are and pick up the phone or send off a text or an email.

 

Put your best face forward

Phone, text and email are all great and convenient ways to communicate if that communication is straight forward and simply a way to pass on information. However if you have an idea or a request or something really important to say, the best way to say it, is the oldest, most tried and true way – face-to-face.

 

If you’ve got a great new idea that you want to present to your boss the last thing you want to do is explain it over email. Email cannot convey the details of the message the way you can in person. It cannot hold your boss’ attention the way you can. It cannot fill him or her with the passion and excitement you can.

 

You know when you come away from talking with someone feeling energized and excited by what they just said? That can never happen over a text or email. Face-to-face interactions bring ideas and concepts to life.

 

So if you have something important to say, use email or a text message or a phone call to set up a meeting, and then get yourself there and communicate your message face-to-face.

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Finding The Right Words

Finding The Right Words

 

So often we hear It’s not what you say, but how you say it. Generally that’s taken in the context of tone of voice and body language, but oftentimes the specific words you use to express yourself are just as important.

 

Someone asks you if you’ll be able to get a project done on time. Yes you can – so you answer: Yes I think I can or Yes I can.

 

There may not seem like a huge difference between those two sentences, but one is an absolute affirmative, while the other still has question marks attached to it. Which one would you rather hear?

 

The words you choose speak volumes about you and at the same time influence how others perceive you.

 

Indefinite statements vs. definite statements

When you say things like I think or I guess, whatever follows is automatically on weaker ground than a simple direct answer. I guess I’ll go to that seminar implies and underlying unwillingness to do it and makes you seem wishy-washy.

 

I think I’ll go to that seminar implies a lack of commitment. I should be able to go. I’m supposed to go. The listener all of those statements will still not have any idea of whether or not you actually have any intention of going.

 

Yes I’m going is clear and decisive.

 

No I don’t believe this will be of benefit to me removes any ambiguity and provides a reason.

 

If you actually don’t know, give a reason why and a time when you will have an answer. I have to check with X, I will let you know by the end of the day.

 

Avoid negative statements

If you want someone to listen with an open receptive mind, you’ll have more success if you frame what you have to say using positive words rather than negative ones.

 

Rather than Don’t always hit reply all, turn the statement around to Only hit reply all when necessary.

 

Instead of I don’t like negative people go with, I prefer positive people.

 

By removing the negative words you’re eliminating a negative undertone you may not even realize is there.

 

Eliminate can’t

You may not be able to do everything you’re asked to do, however can’t is often people’s go-to word for won’t.

 

If you actually mean won’t then say so. It’s always better to be clear with your words and intentions. If what you’re being asked is outside of your skill set or knowledge then follow up with a solution. That’s not something I’m familiar with, I will call Sarah she can help. Or I have not done that before, I will find out how.

 

Your words are a reflection of who you are. People will be more inclined to listen to and follow someone who is direct, straightforward and positive. They will trust a person who is unambiguous in what they say.

Turn Communications Into Successful Communications

Turn Communications Into Successful Communications

 

Ever notice that some people seem to have a knack for getting the best out of those around them, while others seem to go from creating misunderstanding to snafu to lost opportunity? The difference might be as simple as a lack of strong communication skills.

 

Start with the little things

You might think small talk is a waste of time, but it’s part of day-to-day socializing. It’s the beginning of getting to know people. Through those small daily interactions you’ll find out that Jen’s husband has gone back to school, you’ll know when it’s time to encourage Sanjar in his quest to run his first marathon.

 

What you learn through that small talk will help you form relationships and bonds with the people you work with. Not only are you getting to know them better, you’re building an atmosphere of trust and camaraderie.

 

Listen with your ears and your eyes

Pay attention to the body language of the person you’re speaking to. Are they engaged with what you’re saying or are they distracted?

 

If you don’t have their full attention, your communications are not hitting the mark. Are your instructions unclear? Is there something going on with them that needs to be addressed? Is there a problem with what you’re asking them to do? You cannot guess the answers to these questions, so ask.

 

Sometimes if you’re busy it might be tempting to be distracted by a screen or a piece of paper in front of you while giving instructions to someone. That’s a shortcut to giving the same instructions again later. If you want someone to understand what you’re saying you need to give them your full attention. If you expect them to respect you then start by respecting their time and presence.

 

Be approachable

Ultimately you want to get things done. That shouldn’t mean they have to get done in exactly the way you suggested if there’s a better way. You need to make sure that people understand you want them to come to you with questions and suggestions. Communication is a two way street. Being heard and listening are equally important.

 

With strong communication skills you’ll be able to ensure things get things done right, the first time!