I have a 13-year-old daughter. Her style of communication is very different than mine. In truth, I spend a lot of time talking to her along with my younger and older staff members about effective communications. I think that business leaders need to have this conversation with their flock to set expectations. Here are some questions to hydrate the conversation.
When is it appropriate to pick up the phone?
When is it appropriate to send a text message?
When is it appropriate to send an eMail?
When you look into the palm of your hand, you have a powerful communication tool that enables any of these activities. You have a choice. Are you and your team making the right choices?
Text messaging is effective – especially for overscheduled executives. They can be in a meeting and see/respond to a text message. But text messaging should be used delicately. It is not a communication resource for sales and marketing. It is for relaying timely and vital communications only.
This is my fear of younger people entering the business world. They have been using text messaging for chatting with their friends. Literally having conversations over text. Older people hate this.
If you are conveying something lengthy, send an email or pick up the phone. Only send a text to alert the person to read the email or call when available. In business, text is not for conversations.
Telephone calls should be necessary in business, not for fun. Call your mom if you want to have a chat. Do not make a business call unless you have agreed to have a conversation. Telemarketing is stale and antiquated, and you should never telemarket to a person’s cell phone. You know how annoying it is to get calls from people trying to sell you something – interrupting your life for their sales effort. It’s offensive.
Calls should be arranged in advance, or used when there is a timely urgency to have a two-way conversation. Otherwise, send an email.
Business people are crushed by email. Literally hundreds of emails pass into our inboxes every day and hundreds more into spam filters. I spend an hour a day hitting the delete key and the spam button on my inbox. Worse yet, I have staff members that live in my inbox to make sure that I am not missing something important. Do not spam people and try to keep your emails intentional. Also, do not copy the world. There is nothing worse than sending email that copies multiple people as an FYI. For Your Information is an unfortunate redundancy. Only copy people who MUST be copied. If the person you are mailing wants to forward it to others, let them do that.
Other Communication Resources
Humans love media. Tens of thousands of people read our writing. Thousand more follow our posts on Social Media. If you offer value to a person in business, they will follow you. It will lead to a relationship that is direct when direct communications are warranted. People “subscribe” because you are on their radar. Don’t abuse their attention though text, email, or telephone calls unless they ask you to.
WAV Group Communications is expert at driving appropriate messaging through all communication channels. We also provide sensitivity training for companies whose communication strategy has gone off the rails. Let us know if you want to have a conversation about it. Here is your invitation to contact us. We promise not to contact you unless you ask.