Effective use of communication tools


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Effective use of communication tools

  1. 1. How to …. Use E-mail Properly Email should be constructed and written so that the intended audience can read, understand and act on the message after the first time they read it. • Be concise and to the point Do not make an email longer than it needs to be. • Answer all questions and pre-empt further questions By answering all the questions you’ll avoid further e-mails, frustration and wasting time. • Use correct grammar, spelling and punctuation • Make it personal The content of email should be customized. • Respond quickly Email implies a quick respond comparing to the written letter, so should be answered at least within 24 hours. • Do not attach unnecessary files • Use proper structure and layout Use short paragraphs and blank lines in between for easier reading from the screen. • Do not overuse high priority option When overused it looses its function. Also might come out as aggressive. • Do not write in CAPITALS IF YOU WRITE IN CAPITALS IT SEEMS LIKE YOU ARE SHOUTING • Do not leave out the original messages Use “Reply with history” so the recipient can easily see what the email is in reference to. • Read the email before you send it Proof reading will help discover missed mistakes and misspellings, as well
  2. 2. as ensure that none of the content is missing. • Do not overuse Reply to All Only use Reply to All if you really need your message to be seen by each person who received the original message. • Take care with abbreviations Do not use the abbreviations if you are not sure whether the recipient knows them. • Use a meaningful subject Use a subject that is meaningful to the recipient and yourself. Make it as detailed as possible. • Use active instead of passive Active voice (“We will process your order”) sounds more personal, whereas passive (“Your order will be processed”) sounds unnecessarily formal. • Avoid using URGENT and IMPORTANT The less you use them the more function they have when you do use them • Avoid long sentences Try to keep your sentences to a maximum of 15-20 words. • Keep your language gender neutral • Use cc: field sparingly Use cc: field only if the recipient in the cc: field knows why he or she is receiving the email. • Use face-to-face communication whenever possible instead of e-mail. • Think first before you write an email! General guidelines: • The biggest e-mail mistake is that people use it when they should instead pick up the phone and have a conversation. • Consider how your message will be received. Read it out loud to yourself before sending to make sure you've achieved the proper tone. • If you are the least bit upset when responding to an e-mail, save your response and review it later before sending it. Avoid the lure of being able to respond in the heat of the moment. • In fact, if the original message upsets you, you should consider not responding in e-mail at all. If there is a misunderstanding via e-mail, it's
  3. 3. probably time to pick up the phone. • E-mail is not a confidential transmission of information. Don't write anything in e-mail that you would not want others to see. • When replying to another e-mail, cut out all extraneous information, keeping only the original question. Write your reply next to or below it. This system should be required for all but the simplest, single-question e-mails. • Don't use indents for new paragraphs in an email - instead leave a blank line between paragraphs. It's easier to read on a computer screen. • Reply to e-mails in a timely fashion. Don't leave your co-workers or your clients hanging, wondering if you ever received their message. There are ways of improving the way we communicate with email. Remember to: • give people a chance to read the email – don’t expect immediate responses; • Be thoughtful in terms of who you send copies to: are you doing it just in case? • Use the same English rules as with any written message. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that because email is less formal, grammar, sentence structure and spelling are less important. Capital letters in emails are the equivalent of SHOUTING; and • Think carefully about whether you should send an email or would another style of communication be more appropriate?
  4. 4. How to … Use Voice Mail Effectively • Update your personal greeting regularly • Pause for 1-2 seconds before you record your greeting • Make your messages short so the caller will not have to wait long to leave a message • In your greeting let callers know when you will return their call • Include information in your greeting about how callers can reach a colleague if you are not available • If you will be away from the office for an extended period, on business or leave, let callers know how to reach a colleague who is taking your calls • Make use of “Follow Me” when possible; make sure the person you direct your calls to is informed and knows how to reply • Check your messages as often as possible and return all calls within two hours. At the very least, return all the calls within 24 hours. • When you return a call thank the caller for leaving the voice mail message. When leaving a voice mail message: • Always identify yourself and the company you are representing in case it is an outside call. • Always state the reason for calling. • Speak slowly and clearly.
  5. 5. • Leave voice mail messages that are concise (write an outline or even a script before you call, if you find it hard to compose a message on the fly). Convey concrete information. • Do not ramble. Remember a voice mail message is not a two-way conversation. The recipient might have many other messages to pick up. • Always give your phone number when you leave a message. • Speak slowly and distinctive on voice mail when giving phone number or other facts that recipient may need to write down. Leave your name and number twice. • Watch your emotions when you leave a voice mail message. One way communication can come across much angrier, more hurtful or more self-pitying than intended. • If you need a return call, say when and where you will be available. • Voice mail can be used as a record of communication, in the same way as print. When leaving a message remember your voice mail is being recorded.
  6. 6. How to … Use Telephone Effectively • Be prepared, know what you want to achieve, have a pen and paper at hand. • Speak clearly. • Do not speak too fast or too slow. • Smile – people can ‘hear’ you smile. • Use your first and last names to introduce yourself. • Be confident and positive, genuinely interested and enthusiastic. • The first lesson in telephone manners stipulates brevity. • Imagine your own irritation when you get the ‘busy beep continuously. • Modulate your voice and don’t blare into the mouthpiece. • Avoid saying “Haan” “Hein?”, instead say “Sorry?” or “Pardon me” • Don’t keep ‘helloing’ every now and then while conversing. This will save a lot of time – both yours and the caller’s • “Please hold the line” sounds better than “hang on”. • Wrong numbers can be maddening but it is not the caller’s fault. So don’t lose your temper. • Politeness is specially appreciated on the telephone. • Two words that you must use constantly on the phone are “Please” & “Thank you” They sound like music.
  7. 7. How to … Use Mobile Effectively • The cell user should be careful to speak in hushed tones, knowing that a mobile phone has a sensitive microphone capable of picking up a soft voice. • Set the ring tone at a low level with a tune that is soft, gentle and not annoying. The more crowded the situation, the quieter and softer the volume of voice and ring. • The cell user tries to gain as little phone attention as possible. The goal is to communicate effectively without anybody else noticing or caring. • The smart cell phone user respects the personal space of other people and tries to speak in places 10-20 feet or more away from the closest person • The cell user should never use a mobile phone while driving unless it is "hands free." • Use your phone's Vibra-Call feature in public places, such as business meetings, schools, restaurants, theaters or sporting events. If you're expecting a call, get an aisle seat near an exit to minimize interruptions. • Let incoming calls roll over to Voice Mail when it's inappropriate to take a call. In some instances, turning your phone off may be the best solution. • Follow the rules about wireless phone use. Some places, such as hospitals or airplanes, petrol pumps restrict or prohibit the use of mobile phones, so adhere to posted signs and instructions. • The cell phone bore often juggles multiple tasks at the wrong times in the wrong places and often drops a ball or makes someone else angry. • Watch the reactions of people near the cell phone bore when the voice or the ringers are too loud. The cell phone bore is not a popular person! • Discuss cell phone manners with friends and family members. Tell them that you are practicing new wireless phone etiquette rules and offer to share them.
  8. 8. How to … Use Your Voice People make judgments about you just by listening to your voice. It isn't only the words you use, but how you say them that can make a difference. When people see you (face-to-face communication), the impact of your voice is approximately 38% of the overall impression you make—the "picture." Over the phone, it jumps to 85%—since there are no visual cues. There are certain things you can do to have a more pleasing voice: • Have an appropriate expression Sound enthusiastic, or, when appropriate, alter your tone to fit the conversation (sounding sympathetic when talking about sad news, etc.) • Speak at the right temp Speak slowly enough that people understand you easily, yet not so slowly that you are taking too long to complete a thought. • Pause By pausing, you give people enough time to take in what you are saying. When you finish a thought, think of adding a period (.) by counting to three in your mind. If it would be a colon (:), count to two, and if it is a comma (,), count to one. In other words, don't run your words together. • Eliminate fillers Avoid "uh," "um," "OK" and "you know."
  9. 9. • Speak loud enough to be easily heard Speaking in a whisper is non-assertive and annoying. If people ask you to speak up or to repeat yourself, this is a clue that you need help in this area. • Speak soft enough to avoid shouting and screaming If people are asking you to "shh" or lower your tone, that's a clue, too. • Watch your diction Completing words makes you sound smarter. Things like saying the "ing" ending can make a difference ("going" not "gonna," "doing," not "doin' "). Avoid also dropping the beginning of words ("them," not "' em"). • Control your breathing when you get nervous or excited It helps to lower your pitch, making you sound more credible. • Tape-record yourself or listen to your voice-mail messages Decide what you need to practice so you sound better—in face-to-face encounters and electronically. • Keep your hands away from your mouth when speaking And don't swallow words or let your voice trail off with any thoughts. • The power of your voice is the sum of its vocal quality and the words you choose. You must not take either for granted to ensure that your speaking formula is a winning combination.