Business Communication Reference List
We live in an era of many forms of instant business communication, yet we are terrible at communicating. Most people have trouble navigating which method to use. Here is a quick reference list for business communication to ensure you do it right. There are exceptions to every rule, but this list will help get your message across.
The good ol’ email is the best and most effective form of business communication. It creates a record, allows time for response, and hits the person on multiple devices. However, just because you sent an email 5 minutes ago, doesn’t mean the person read it 5 minutes ago. Give the person at least a few hours. If that is too long, call them. If you think about it, most emails can wait for 24-hours.
ONLY, I repeat, ONLY use meetings for critical face-to-face discussions. It sounds simple, but almost no one does it. Don’t have meetings to talk about other meetings or to set times for future meetings. Don’t use meetings as a means to feel like you’re working or doing something important. Instead, work or do something important. If you do have a meeting, always have an agenda and a goal. Assign someone as the Dungeon Master to ensure everyone stays on task and on time. Meetings are essential to business, but only 5% is worth it.
If you’re going to walk-up unannounced to someone’s office or desk, make sure it is for something important or to waste time. Sometimes wasting time at work is essential and both parties are into it.
Business Telephone Number Call
Usually, calls should be made to business cell phones or landlines. All calls should be because the conversation is urgent or long in duration. Send an email first if you know the conversation will be for an extended period so you can schedule something. Also, use calls when email fails. Sometimes you just have to get someone on the phone. If an email sounds passive aggressive, call to avoid conflict.
Personal Cell Call
Don’t use it unless something is metaphorically or literally on fire, especially during non-traditional hours. Typically someone’s cell phone is their business phone as well so use your best judgment.
Business Chat Systems, G-Chat, iMessage
Today, companies are using Chat Systems more often. Chat can be an effective means of communication for small teams to continue to work as they need small questions answered for quick solutions. However, Chat is sometimes hard to ignore, so it is a bit of a double edge sword. It can keep productivity moving or halt it in its place.
Receiving text messages for business varies from person to person, but I’ve found that typically people don’t like using text for business unless somehow text is apart of their business. For me, text messaging is personal. It’s an instant form of communication and a destroyer of productivity.
This list is simple but ultimately do what works best for you. Use the method that gets across what you need to get across.
I’m a writer and filmmaker from Santa Fe, NM. I write, run, and eat plants.