The way we communicate with each other has been ever-evolving the last 30 years. Not only have the means changed, but content and the way we communicate our ideas and feelings has gone through an evolution. Face to face and voice communications have been replaced with email and text messages. Disagreements and ideas are no longer shared in conference rooms, but social media forums and twitter updates.
As all these advances continue, it’s very important to never forget the importance of communicating your ideas and thoughts clearly. Correspondence, regardless of the means, in the professional world has moved into a more informal space. If you’re looking for a job, selling a product, talking to peers or employees, it’s still imperative to keep a level of professionalism. Here are some things to keep in mind in these situations.
- Grammar and sentence structure are still important. Don’t text and email like you would to your family and friends. Even if you think you have a great rapport with someone, a professional correspondence should still be professional. Sentences should start with a capital letter and end with a period (or other). Avoid emoji’s, LOLs, and short-hand in these emails/texts to business contacts.
- Try to speak to someone as opposed to electronic means, especially if there is something important to discuss. Avoiding a real conversation does not instill confidence and trust with your employee, candidate or customer.
- Speak clearly and confidently. Erase the words ‘like’, ‘um’, and ‘uh’ from your vocabulary. Overusing the word ‘like’ gives off a sense of immaturity and inexperience. Filling space with the ‘uhs’ and ‘ums’ makes it seem like you don’t know what you’re trying to say or struggling with a response. If you’re composing thoughts, stay silent. Speaking slowly also helps rid the need to use the space-filling noises.
- Think ahead of time before speaking. Don’t ask a question or start a conversation until you know what you’re looking for. What do you want the outcome to be? Are you looking for an action, a certain response, or conversation?
- Don’t try to impress people in the workplace with big, fancy words. Overpowering people with your intellect may have the opposite effect. Not only do you risk using words incorrectly, but focus is no longer on what you’re trying to say but figuring out what your words mean.