The 4 Power P’s Of Successful Professional Communication.
A key concept of business etiquette is “The How.” It is key because in business, not just if you decide to act, but how you decide to act matters. So, regarding professional communications – whether in word, deed, or appearance – how you communicate matters.
One of the greatest frustrations experienced in the professional world stems from the misuse of electronic communications. Today, text, email, and smartphones are the principal modes of professional communication. So provocative a mainstay, their misuse can make or break a career, or at the least cause viral embarrassment. Ask Elizabeth Becton.
Communication builds your image. No matter the method – written or voice – communications should be clear, concise, and correct. Here’s where we get to the 4 P’s of successful communication.
The 4 P’s of communication apply to all forms of communication whether written or voice, and are especially applicable to communications made via an electronic medium.
Public or Private?
Before you reply, post, tweet (retweet), or hit send, ask yourself, “Is this communication public or private?” This is an easy question to answer in this day of instant communication—the only private conversations are those conducted face to face, with the door shut, and no one listening in. So, when answering the pubic v. private question, think about this….Could you take the communication, print it out, and post it on a public bulletin board for anyone to read? If the answer is “no,” do not email it, text it, IM it, leave it on a voicemail, tweet it, or blog!
A mistake takes the focus away from your message. Spelling and grammatical errors reflect upon you, your business or employer’s business. Be especially careful with proposals, resumes/cover letters, and important electronic communications. Even if grammar is perfect, tone can be a major issue. As a professional in a position of authority, you lose all credibility by adopting a condescending or chastising tone. Top that with grammatical errors and you’ve lost more than you’ve gained.
People are particularly attuned to mistakes with their names or their company’s name. Such careless mistakes raise the question, “If you can’t get our name right, how can we trust you to get the job done right?” A simple fix for any difficult name (company or individual) is to check the internet, contact the individual’s receptionist/admin, HR, or your company contact. Send the right message by getting it right the first time!
The immediacy of electronic communications evokes the feeling that if we don’t respond with speed, we’ve somehow done less than our best. Not true! Patience really is a virtue when it comes to electronic communications. Setting expectations is a topic for another post, but for now the focus is the potential risk in responding too quickly to any communication. We’ve all done it; hit the ‘send’ button only to realize too late we’ve made some grievous mistake in tone (too flip, angry) or spelling (Turdy not Trudy). Ever try to recall an email? It never works and in most cases, shines a spotlight on the error. Take a moment to reflect, use the draft or “send later” buttons – and NEVER hit ‘reply all’ without double checking everything! Most importantly, think about the image you want to create, not only with those who know you, but with those who don’t.
Take the 4 P’s to heart as a means of improving professional communication.
For more information on improving communications within your organization visit our website at www.saffirelegal.com or to talk about scheduling a personalized training session for your organization contact us at [email protected] or (949) 535-5266!