Since the pandemic hit, whether you liked it or not, you had to get yourself familiar real quick with communicating via email, phone, or video. The first few months of the pandemic I felt like we were all on edge and every email and call you got was a 911 emergency.
You didn't want to leave any client hanging. I felt like I was in a constant state of panic, but I kept telling myself it would all snap back to normal in a few weeks.
Well, it's almost been a year now and we are still not back to normal. We've all had to adjust our communication skills and learn some new work boundaries. Whether it's via email or a zoom call, here are some tips that would probably be good to keep in the back of your mind when communicating with clients and co-workers.
With the pandemic hitting it feels like our workday is extremely fluid now. And honestly, for our sanity I think we need to set some work boundaries. I am totally guilty of sending texts and emails after hours and on the weekends. Here are few things that I think I need to take a step back and really work on since our new normal is zoom calls, emails and texts at all hours:
- Our world is so fast-paced now with instant communication gratification at our fingertips and I totally fall into that trap. I’m really bad about wanting to cross something off my list and not taking the time to really think about it. I don’t know how many times I’ve hit send on an email only to instantly think of something I needed to add. So, this year I will step back and take a second to really think when I am sending over project details or complex directions and try to get all of my information into one email. It makes it easier to work off of and easier to reference. The fastest way to overlook a detail is to have it buried in an email chain.
- I know we have all heard the saying “...lack of planning on your part doesn't constitute an emergency on mine.” It’s true and with today’s ease of communication this is the fastest way to burn a bridge or become known as “that guy.” I don’t want to be “that guy.” You know the one. The one that is always asking for something at 4:30 and they need it ASAP. This is all about time management and setting reasonable due dates.
- Use common sense when it comes to punctuation and font type. There is no need for anyone to be using all caps and multiple exclamation points in your emails. Nothing irks me more than getting an email and every other sentence has an exclamation point – unless it’s good news! I am really good about not using all caps – I think. But when it comes to exclamation points, I get very generous. Most people that know me in person and not just via email know I am using exclamation points in a fun way – but if you don’t know me you may be reading that email very differently. Take a second to reread your email and double check the tone – especially when delivering negative feedback.
- Timing of emails is crucial. We send out email campaigns daily and one thing we have spent a lot of time researching is timing. You don’t want to send one out on a Monday – it’ll get overlooked. Fridays aren’t the best either. Same applies for basic email communication. Believe me, if you put the effort into timing your emails, you’ll have a better rapport with your clients/vendors/co-workers. Technology offers us so many opportunities to be more efficient and courteous to other people’s inbox. Respecting other people’s time will set the boundary for other people to respect your time.
Honestly, after putting these few “email/communication best practices” on paper I think they all sound like simple, common sense things. But we all can get consumed with focusing on getting things done the quickest way possible that we forget to use common sense when communicating.
So, here goes, let’s end the vicious cycle of panic texts and emails and start practicing safe communication skills in an instant gratification business environment!!!