Lets Talk About Effective and Polite Communication

  • Why do some prefer to hide behind email or text message?

  • Why is it that in a world where everyone is glued to their phones, very few actually use them to phone people?

  • When letting someone down, do you have the courage to talk to them personally and let them know why?

  • Does your business train people how to use Email effectively?

If the above resonates with you, then we need to talk. Yes talk - that dying art of human to human communication.

In many of my coaching groups lately these have all been issues raised by participants and I have also experienced them first hand. I therefore felt that it was time to air my frustration so that those of you reading this can learn from the actions of others and become more effective communicators.Let’s address the first point  - Why do some people prefer to hide behind email or text message rather than pick up the phone and discuss the issue with someone? Is it fear or laziness?

If you have a long to-do list, it is very easy to send an email to someone and tick off something on your list as done. However, if you need them to do something for you, it isn’t actually done - all that has been done is a passing of the buck.

So next time you look at your to do list, think about what you can complete by actually picking up the phone and talking to another human being. Go on - I dare you! Often you will get through your tasks a lot quicker as you won’t end up distracted by your inbox ! Secondly, and this is the thing that really stumps me - Why is it that in a world where everyone is glued to their phones very few people actually use them to phone people? It’s not like we have to rely on waiting for the pay phone on the street corner to become free before we can call someone. Or maybe you are concerned that you may interrupt them, well, I have news for you - If they can’t talk they won’t answer and there is a great invention called voicemail. More often than not, people will call back. Oh and if someone calls you and leaves a message, please give them the courtesy of returning their call.

This leads me to the third point - letting people down. Have you ever had umpteen conversations with and worked tirelessly on a proposal or presentation for a for a potential client only to hear crickets? So what do you do? You call them and follow up, but they don’t answer your calls, or say yes and then….all of a sudden you get the email (if you are lucky) “Sorry, not interested”. How do you feel? Angry, dejected, annoyed, disappointed? All manner of emotions, but mainly you probably think What? You can’t even pick up the phone to speak to me in person and give me some honest feedback? Or a reason? Is my time worth nothing?

So how do you let people down? Do you grab the bull by the horns and man or woman up and pick up the phone or maybe even set a face to face meeting with them if it is a big tender - or do you hide behind your screen and use the cowards way out?

Next time you have to let someone down, be brave, have some respect and give them honest feedback via phone or face to face. It will benefit them and you will earn their respect, so its win win. Acknowledgement is important. No matter what form of communication you are using. If someone sends you an email or a text message, don’t ignore it, acknowledge it. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that email and text messages don’t have a place, but they need to be used appropriately and sparingly. A single email can often result in a long chain of communication copied to all and sundry clogging up inboxes for days with something that is only deemed important or relevant to the sender themselves.

We all get training in other skills and business processes but rarely is anyone trained in how to use email, but that’s a whole other can of worms, so I will save that for another article.For now, let’s all focus on more personal and human to human spoken communication and start using the phone for the purpose that Alexander Graham Bell intended!

The day will come when the man at the telephone will be able to see the distant person to whom he is speaking "

- Alexander Graham Bell

If you would like to learn more about how you can increase your own personal effectiveness or that of your team or business, please give me a call on 1300 854 405 or if that scares you, you can book a time here and I will call you.

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