Communicating With Class
This issue is a bit of a departure for me; instead of “leading” with something related to the writing process, I’m focusing on the act of communicating. I believe the widespread use of electronic communication has made people forget some basic common courtesies. Consider the following:
- You make a request via e-mail for time-sensitive information and hear nothing. One week later, you send a second e-mail, and then you finally resort to leaving a voice mail.
- You send a finished project to a client via e-mail and hear nothing. One week later, you’re forced to call to confirm receipt (so you can finally generate an invoice).
I could go on…but I think you get the point. Good e-mail communicators are becoming as rare as film cameras, so you can differentiate yourself by doing one simple thing: respond!
When you’re asked for something via e-mail, take the few seconds required to send an acknowledgment. If you can’t provide what’s required right away, at least the requester will know you’re “on it.”
A little more thought must go into deciding when e-mails providing information warrant a response. I don’t propose you reply to each and every one, but consider when professional courtesy demands you acknowledge receipt.
If you can’t or don’t want to respond to e-mails as they come in, you might consider setting response expectations:
- Set a time or two each day when you’ll tackle e-mail, and make that public knowledge.
- Use automated response when you know you’ll be away from e-mail for more than a day or so.
It’s up to you to decide whether you want to be someone whose communication skills add value to your relationships…or detract from them.
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