Gone are the days of consistent face to face meetings between administrative pros and their managers. The world of tech has made it incredibly easy to reach out and talk to anyone, at any time, without leaving your seat and while this can have an incredible impact on productivity, the cons cannot be ignored. It is impossible to know someone’s mood, tone, or demeanor via text or chat or email and as a result, it’s left up to the imagination — which isn’t always a good thing.
Recently, I challenged myself to learn more about communication styles and approaches — below are tips I learned along the way and have implemented into my daily life. It didn’t take long for people to notice either.
- Exclamation points are loved by Gen Z. I was trained and educated to believe that exclamation points were aggressive and often misinterpreted as yelling, unless it was at the end of Happy Birthday! Or Merry Christmas! You didn’t use it in business communication. Well, apparently times have changed! Exclamation points are in!! What was once an aggressive addition to an email is now viewed as “happy”,“cheerful”, and “inviting.” The next time you sincerely “can’t wait” for something, throw some exclamations on it to show your excitement!!!
- Say Hello before jumping into what it is you’d like to accomplish. When you physically walk over to someone with the intention to ask them for something, you aren’t just going to walk up and say “stapler,” right? You’re going to say hi first, maybe ask about their day or small talk. Treat your inbox conversations just as you would a conversation in the real world. Start your chats, IMs, and emails with Hey! Good Morning! Doing so will set the right tone for a helpful interaction vs one where someone might you’re rude or abrasive.
- Never assume someone’s intentions. If you are getting the vibe from a digital conversation that the other person is being cold or inflexible, unfortunately it could be your own feelings or imagination getting in the way. Before reacting, ask the person to hop on a call or walk over and talk to them, if you’re able to. Sometimes this is all you need to do to completely avoid a clash. It’s completely impossible to be 100% sure of someone’s tone without seeing or hearing them.
- Don’t just say no to an idea. No one wants to feel like their idea is a bad idea, even if it is one. If you’re being presented with an idea, project, or task you think may not work out – ask the presenter questions. “Did we look at this possibility?” “What about this obstacle?” etc. Let the person presenting you with a thought answer these questions without shooting them down. It may already be flushed out, or you may help them realize some quirks they had overlooked. Either way, no one is going to respond well to the word “no” well if it isn’t presented properly.
- Manage your messaging. Find out as much as you can about how the people you are communicating daily with prefer to be communicated with. How do you find out? Ask! Identify the kind of information the person likes. Do they want just the facts? Do they prefer anecdotes? Paragraphs? Delivering information in the other person’s preferred style of communication will ALWAYS make your words more effective.
Technology isn’t going anywhere, if anything we should all be prepare for even less physical interaction in business. Polishing up on digital communication skills should be a priority for all of us in front facing roles.
I hope these tips help you & if you have any that can help me, drop them in the comments!