Is it just me, or does anybody else get frustrated with the state of business communication? I am convinced it has to do with new technology and a resulting informality of how we communicate.
Don't get me wrong; I appreciate e-mail, texting, and social media as much as anyone. However, I don't think that using these great resources should be a license to forego common courtesies, protocols, and a professional manner.
Here are a few of my communication pet peeves.
- A sense that sending a reply email means you are no longer responsible.
- Saying things in a text or email you would never dream of saying face-to-face. (If you wouldn't be willing to say it to someone's face, it probably shouldn't be said.)
- Flat out not responding. (Can you imagine standing in front of someone and ignoring their question?)
- Making a request of someone and then never acknowledging you received what you asked for, let alone thanking him/her for the help. (Our parents taught us better than that.)
- Incredibly poor writing skills. (We could all benefit from a writing class at a local community college.)
- People who tirelessly criticize, but can't find a way to offer a compliment or encouragement.
I hope that this hasn't become our new normal, but even if it has, think of your chance to stand out from the crowd by not being a part of that new norm. I can tell you that, for me, someone with great writing/communication skills stands out from the crowd and gets my attention in a very positive manner.
As much as I try not to, I realize I am guilty from time to time. I really do try to catch myself. But, if you catch me in violation, please point it out to me. But do so in a kind, gentle, trying-to-help-you-out kind of approach. A nasty, mean-spirited email will just result in a quick delete.
Photo by Anne-Lise Heinrichs.