It wasn’t that long ago that if you wanted to make plans with someone you needed to do so before you left your house. Long before cellphones and well before the Internet, communicating with people was done either face to face or over a land line. Advances in technology have certainly made it easier to stay in touch, but it also brings a new set of business related issues. Whatever it is you wish to communicate can easily be misinterpreted if you are not clear with what you are saying. Something as seemingly innocent as a text can alter the way someone thinks of you. Before you hit send, you should know that every word will be under scrutiny. Make sure you are getting your point across in a clear, easy to understand message. Avoiding communication mistakes will prevent a lot of headaches and save a lot of time.
Email and text are the two quickest ways to communicate with people. However, just because they are quick doesn’t mean they should be simple. All emails should start off with a formal greeting. Unless you have done multiple deals and you feel supremely comfortable, you should keep your emails formal. This means a proper greeting and proper form. If you don’t have a formal heading at the bottom of your email, get one. Subsequently, grammar and spelling need to be pristine. Before you hit send, take the time to correct any errors. If you sound like a 3rd grader, you will be judged as one. You don’t need to be a spelling champ, but a spell check takes 10 seconds and changes the way the reader thinks of you. Your email may not take more than 45 seconds, but a few misspelled words or a few sentences that don’t make much sense will leave a lasting impression.
Never send an email when you are emotional. It is pretty easy to get caught up in a deal when things are getting hectic and there are multiple people involved. As bad as a conversation may be, sending out a damning email is something the recipient will have forever. You can apologize until you are blue in the face, but they will always have that email from you to document what you said. Things can easily get lost in translation of an email. If there is any doubt what your intentions are, you should wait a few minutes before you hit send.
Many more people text now than ever before. There is certainly nothing wrong with sending a text. However, you should get permission first. As a general rule of thumb; if someone calls, you should return that call with a call of your own. By sending a text, you give the impression that you don’t really want to talk to them. It sounds foolish enough, but many people judge you based on how and where you respond. Much like sending an email, you need to be mindful of the presentation. You don’t need to send a formal greeting, but you should look at the grammar and spelling of your content. Instead of using “u” and “k,” you should really use the whole word. If you want to be treated as a professional, you should portray that image at all times.
You should also be mindful of your use of capital letters and exclamation points. If you really feel that strongly about something, you should pick up the phone and have a conversation. However, if you can’t, you should pick and choose your spots to use them. Again, if you just take a minute to read your texts and consider how your message comes across you may think twice about hitting send.
As easy as text and email are, nothing replaces verbal communication. Take a look at your phone the next time you hang up with someone you do business with. What you will find is that most conversations are less than two minutes. In those two minutes, you can get more points across than several texts ever could. Never avoid making a call just because the situation may be uncomfortable. You will gain much more credibility in your business if you deal with situations head on and call whoever you need to. Emails or texts can be considered a cop out. They can even make a bad situation worse.
There is no excuse not to get back to someone as quickly as possible. Instead of rushing out a quick email or text, take a few extra minutes to make sure your content is they way it should be. If you are uncertain about what to say, it is always best to just pick up the phone and call. A sloppy email or text can often do more damage than good. It is always great to stay up to date and in touch, but how you do it is the most important thing. You can spend weeks building a relationship and lose credibility with just one sloppy text.