Communication 201: Best Practices for Personal and Professional Connections
What’s the optimal way to communicate a message? Texting? Email? Phone call? Video call? In-person meeting? For many the answers vary, especially when our lives get hectic. But if you’re concerned about best practices when it comes to connecting with others in your personal and professional life, the team at LEADon® has some clear-cut recommendations that can move you to the next level of exceptional leadership.
To get started, here is a quick summary of LEADon’s ‘Communication 201’ guidelines:
- Texting: 1-3 factual, non-reactive sentences that necessitate an equally short response.
- Email: one or more paragraphs of factual, non-reactive material that provides information and/or asks clarifying questions.
- Phone call: any message that may include a potentially reactive element on your part—or could generate an emotional reaction from the recipient.
- Video call: any message where seeing and hearing one another would help avoid a possible negative reaction to the information being presented.
- In-person meeting: all messages that are likely to produce emotional responses/reactions so that the content, the tone it is being delivered in, and body language can be experienced simultaneously by the participants.
You may be wondering why ‘reactions’ play such a key role in our rationale for the mode of communication you should use. Specifically, what do emotional reactions have to do with the business world? Plenty! From co-workers to clientele, humans are emotive beings, and information will always be processed through our emotional filters. Those filters are often what create distortions when communicating with others. So, whether you have a Corporate Family® of 5 or 500, there could be countless distortions operating in your lines of communication. When you add in your clientele/customers, you get a glimpse of why we tend to experience miscommunication in our lives. This is why resolving corporate communication problems has been a priority for the LEADon team, whether in our onsite leadership development or online leadership courses.
LEADon believes that much of the miscommunication in your Corporate Family can be reduced by establishing or revamping your organization’s communication policy. We like how a July 2018 TeleMessage post explains that this “policy should indicate what types of correspondences are permissible by text, email, phone call, and in-person meetings … so, your organization will have better control over the internal communication practices of your employees—all without opposing their preference and inhibiting their productivity” (see https://www.telemessage.com/texting-vs-email-in-workplace-when-to-use-each/ for more details). Remember, be sure to include team member input as you work/re-work this vital organizational policy. By doing so, you will communicate how much you value employee participation and buy-in, and it will emphasize your desire for best practices in everything your Corporate Family hopes to achieve.
The LEADon team has developed several online courses that specifically target personal and professional communication skills, including LEADing by Communicating Effectively®, LEADers Walk Their Talk®, and LEADing with the Power of Perspective & Rhetoric®. In addition, we offer numerous free resources that provide practical ways to improve communication skills, including blogs like Communication: Sending Clear and Convincing Messages, Corporate Communication and Improving Customer Connections.
Finally, as you and your team implement your Corporate Family’s communication policy, make sure everything you convey is Thoughtful, Timely, and Thorough. In other words, be kind—whether in a text or talking face-to-face. If someone has requested a response, reply as soon as possible. And make sure all messaging, whether in print or in person, is clear, concise, and complete.
If the team at LEADon can help you and your Corporate Family with your communication policy—or any other leadership need—please contact us at www.LEADonUniversity.com or 858.592.0700.