This article was first published in the Mercury Bay Informer of 30 May 2018. See www.theinformer.co.nz
While some of us may remember a time when business was done without emails, texts and social media, in today’s world they are essential business enablers. Used well they make it possible for organisations to reach wide groups of stakeholders and prospects with speed and minimal cost. Used carelessly these tools can damage an organisation’s reputation just as quickly. The following three guidelines might be helpful as you make these tools work for you:
Slow Down – There is no need to respond immediately. Your initial thoughts might not be your best. Take advice if needed. Check your message for errors and potential confusion before you click ‘send’ or ‘post’.
Set some Guidelines – Electronic communication builds your brand, but is it building the brand you want? Try using a standard font and email signature across your organisation. Decide when, if ever, emojis are appropriate. Consider how many ‘reply alls’ are acceptable before the email is replaced with a face to face discussion.
Build Relationships – Like all communication, electronic communication is about building relationships. Make sure you choose a method and style that the recipient is comfortable listening to. Would you say the message directly in a face to face conversation? If not, chances are it should not be sent electronically.
Finally, whatever is sent electronically has the potential to be shared with many others over a long period of time. Think about what would happen if the ‘wrong’ people read your message? Does that change what you write?