It’s a new working week and your inbox is overflowing with emails again. There are so many that you need to reply to and that is just scratching the surface of your daily tasks. So why spend any time on thinking and planning your emails when you can use that precious time on something better, right? Wrong!
Planning your emails carefully, minding your language, being polite, and investing in business communication in general may prove extremely useful for your career and reputation, but it can also propel your business forward. Stay tuned to find out why.
Your email is your business card
Research shows that almost 63% of business professionals prefer email to communicate for business purposes. Obviously, this places a lot of weight on your email efficiency. Think about it: most of the people you are communicating with via emails, especially outside of the company, will never meet you in real life.The emails you exchange with them are the only chance for you to make a good lasting impression. This holds true not only for the content of the email but also for the way you go about initiating contact or responding. For example, a prompt reply may be interpreted as a sign for your efficiency and willingness to engage; an email that provides detailed information would signal you are willing to help and open for further communication, etc. Keep your emails professional, respectful and well-structured and you can expect the same treatment.
Investing in business communication pays off
In today’s global market, it is not easy to stand out and make a difference. Products and services are widely available from a myriad of suppliers and deciding where to take your business may not be easy. One simple way to retain customers and to expand your customer base is to take your time building relationships. Take some simple steps to do it - listen to what the others have to say, be considerate of their needs, and show genuine interest in their business. Once your business partners feel that they matter to you, they will be more likely to keep doing business with you. On many occasions, if presented with a variety of options to choose from, people will select the person they know better and find reliable. That is why keeping a steady record of reliability, consideration, and dedication to your business partners may also positively affect your revenue.
“Trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair”
You must have heard that statement before, right? Cliched as it may be, it is true and failure to adhere to it may prove costly. In a world where time is money, any faux-pas you may make might bring the trust you have been building for years come crashing down in an instant. It is especially important to keep this in mind when you are facing difficult or unpleasant situations in the office.
We have all received emails that made our blood boil - sometimes rude, sometimes upsetting, occasionally plainly stupid. In such situations, it is very important to control your emotions and not allow your feelings to dictate a response you may end up regretting later. Take some time to cool your head. You may want to write down a response that lets out all of your anger or frustration - from a psychological point of view, this helps to process the negative emotions and helps you to calm down. But whatever you do, do not send that email to the intended recipient. That will most likely be the end of your working relationship. Instead, calmly state the facts and explain what has happened or what you would like to see happen as simply as possible. Treat everyone with respect and expect the same in return.
Proper communication style makes you look professional
When doing business, it is always a good idea to keep some distance and formality. Over time, we tend to feel more comfortable communicating with a particular customer, vendor or supplier. It is not uncommon to bring communication to less formal channels, such as instant messaging or chats. While there is nothing wrong in that, keep in mind that when official business is at hand (transactions, confirmations, approvals, etc.) email will always be the go-to communication channel. On the one hand, emails are traceable and can be used as proof, should you need it. On the other, using proper style and level of formality makes you look competent and professional, regardless of the situation. Use this to your advantage.
Clear business communication makes you more efficient
Think about all those times when you had the feeling that no one was reading your emails. How many times did people ask you for details you have already included in your previous email? How often has it happened that you needed to repeat the same piece of information more than once? How long did it take to clear out a confusion created by a hastily sent reply? But there is a way to reduce the amount of time spent on inefficient or redundant communication. Try to make your emails short but informative. Keep your sentences simple to avoid confusion and always check if you have understood correctly. Don’t forget to include a proper subject line that summarizes the content of the email.
It is not always easy to get your point across, especially when you have to write in a foreign language. Keep your eyes open for useful phrases that other people use and borrow them for your purposes. Learn from those you communicate with. As with most aspects of life, practice makes perfect. Over time, writing your emails will become easier and structuring your sentences would feel like a piece of cake.
Finally, before I leave you to your emails - some statistics. According to a recent survey by The McKinsey Global Institute, the average employee spends 13 hours a week reading and responding to emails. In other words, email communication takes up 28% of our working time. Imagine how much time you would be able to save if everyone you worked with paid a little more attention to their emails. One could dream…
Professional, Learning & Organizational Development