If you own a business, you have to communicate with people. Whether you’re talking to customers, employees, or fellow business owners, at some point you’ll have to interact with others. When that happens, you want to make a good impression. That means knowing how to communicate. These days there are lots of ways to connect with people, so make sure you know how.
By Phone. First and foremost, make sure you set up an informative voicemail message. Make sure people know who they’ve reached and what you want them to do (leave a message, call another number, etc.). On the flip side, when you call someone:
- Introduce yourself.
- State the nature of your call.
- Speak slowly and clearly (especially when leaving a message).
- Use your manners (please and thank you go a long way).
By Text. Whether you like it or not, the majority of the world sends text messages, even in the business world. It’s okay to communicate via text, just remember that it’s still a professional correspondence.
- Avoid slang and text abbreviations.
- Use proper grammar and punctuation.
- Include a greeting and farewell (don’t assume people will recognize your number).
By Email. The same rules for texting apply to emails; grammar and content matter. There are a few other items you may want to include to give your email the professional look you want.
- Use a professional name: firstname.lastname@example.org screams amateur. You can easily create your own email domain and use email@example.com.
- Add a signature with your name, company name, and other contact information.
- Keep your signature brief: more than 4-6 lines is overkill.
- Let the other person make the first move: at some point you’ll be comfortable sending quick, more personal emails, but let your client/customer make the first move. This ensures that he/she is comfortable in the relationship. Even then, keep the content work-related and well-written.
By Social Media. This is a great way to meet new people and stay in touch. Make the most of social media with these suggestions.
- Keep your posts relevant to your business and the social media outlet: LinkedIn is more professional; Facebook can be more personal. Know the audience and post accordingly.
- Respond quickly: when people comment or respond to your posts, make sure you respond. Let them know that you’re listening.
- Be polite. I cannot stress this enough – it’s tempting to vent, spew, and rant, but don’t. Manners always matter, even on social media.
Knowing how to communicate professionally will help you send the right message to your clients, co-workers, and peers.
How do you communicate at work? What do you do to make the right impression?