It is approximately 2pm on a Sunday and I have probably sent 50 emails today. This includes social media messages, text messages, and email. Compared to other people, it is more than likely a very low number. However, it made me think about the high percentage of communication that takes place electronically.

Instant response gratification

If I need to connect with a friend, my preferred method of contact is always text message. Calling is a hassle and once you start a conversation, the whole process takes a long time. Who has time for that? Also, I usually get an instant response. Perfect. It sounds cold, but this is true for most people. We talk when we meet, hopefully. None of us wants to be one of those people who constantly checks our phone when meeting friends or worse clients!

For business, my first choice is always email. Less of an instant response, but the percentage is high that a response will be provided quickly. This is a bit more stressful because instant response gratification has become something of the norm.

Social media is another good resource for “instant response gratification.” A post from a personal account almost always gets an instant like from someone. A business account post is hit or miss, but it’s more of a complementary communication tool, so it’s forgivable.

I still write letters, but watch out for etiquette!

Okay, now that we’ve established that electronic communication is all the rage, how can we apply that favorably to streamline our work but avoid becoming robotic and impersonal? Everyone likes immediate feedback. Clients and candidates don’t want to wait for an answer. That is the maximum to communicate electronically. Everyone seems to always be available. The downside is that it can lead to some confusion and lack of clarity. The good news is that it can lead to less confusion and more clarity. Hey?

Let’s break this. With the constant flow of messages, especially emails, many messages are lost just because everyone is dealing with high volume or reading between the lines what is being sent. The other caveat is that you should always be careful what you write.

Not everyone is especially talented in the written word and the way you communicate is always an indication of your professionalism or lack thereof. You should always check that the grammar, spelling, and content are correct. In this rushed world, which is why we communicate this way to begin with, some of the basic rules of written communication are often violated.

It’s interesting because in ancient times everyone wrote letters. Today we write letters again, it is simply that the delivery is much faster. That said, written communication is nothing new. The rules haven’t changed.

Have you ever sent an email to someone who shouldn’t have been on the recipient list because they entered it by mistake and accidentally included it? This has happened to most of us and it is not something we are proud of. Apologies are usually in order, but once the “submit” button is pressed there is not much that can be done.

It is the same story with attachments. How many times has this happened? It boasts a litany of reasons why recipients need to review the document ASAP just to have someone send you that dreaded message, “No attachments.” Ughh. Painful every time! Always attach before writing your message to help avoid this problem.

The problem with all electronic communications is that you cannot withdraw them, just like that letter or card you put in the mailbox. That is why it is very important that you do a little planning with each message you write. Yes, all the messages. Even your personal posts on Facebook® can have an impact on your business life.

Rules for social posts

What are some simple rules for social posts? Never post something that you would not like “everyone” to see. That includes your mom, your boss, your coworkers, clients, etc. Everything is open play today. You can even stay connected with some of your clients on your personal social media platforms. It practically never goes away and there is an opportunity for anyone to see it. BCWYP – Be careful what you post!

Also be careful what you share on social media. Some people share posts without even reading them. Read what you are sharing before posting to make sure it represents you and your business well. You don’t want to share something that is not part of your belief and passion, therefore reading everything first is essential.

Although all companies should have a written document on social media posts and make it clear to employees what is okay to post, some companies lack this area. If you don’t know what your company’s publishing policy is, please don’t post on your company’s behalf. It is very important that you are informed about what your company allows you to post when you represent your company on social media or otherwise.

Keep it beneficial and interesting!

It is very plausible and even necessary to text and email clients and candidates regularly. If you are not doing this, you are missing a huge means of relationship building. Staying in touch electronically so clients and candidates are aware of opportunities and information that could benefit them is crucial. It is important to allow them to “opt out” and if they do, you should not message them again without first receiving permission.

With electronic communication, keep people informed about your company and your products, but don’t go overboard with a bunch of boring messages that say the same thing. Also, remember your etiquette on social media and email. Don’t harass people who connect with you with constant and intrusive sales messages, unless you want to disconnect.

Finally, written communication, even if it is electronic, is a way of life. It is a very important element in our business and personal life. As with everything, we can use it to our benefit or to our demise. It depends on us.

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