Communication has always been something that fascinates me. I love to analyze what someone has said, how they have said it, what reaction it received. Plus there are so many ways to communicate; in person, over the phone, via email, etc… And even our non-verbal communication can speak volumes.
In the professional realm, we really have to stay on top of the messages we are sending. We want them to be accurate, friendly, and confident. We don’t want our messages to be lost or misunderstood. So to communicate effectively we must be aware of the implication that our message or manner of transmission has.
Email Construction is Key
In the scope of email, we should remember that the message really is a bit one-sided. We send our communiqué and have to wait for the other person(s) to read it and grasp it and possibly react to it. Getting a feel for how they received it is not immediate. Therefore, careful construction of the email message is key. It starts with the subject line and goes all the way to the end signature. Here are a few tips when it comes to email:
· Subject – your email subject line should present what the message is actually about. A recent report indicated that 35% of email recipients open email based on subject line alone.
· To – who you are sending it to should be chosen wisely. The person you are truly “talking to” in the email is who you should send it “To.” If there are alternate individuals who should receive the message but don’t need to act on it then they should be “CC’d” (carbon copied) on the email.
· BCC – when there are multiple recipients that don’t know one another, for example, your customers, it’s considerate to use the “BCC” (blind carbon copy) feature of your email. Send the email to yourself and BCC everyone else so you’re not revealing stranger’s email addresses.
· ALL CAPS – using the Caps Lock on your keyboard to type your message is perceived as shouting and the recipient will be offended.
· Quality over Quantity – keep your message short and to the point.
· Tone – when writing an email, consider the tone. If you are angry as you write it your recipient will “hear” that underlying emotion. It may be wise to allow yourself to cool down and re-read the message before hitting the send button.
· Proofreading – regarding hitting the send button, remember to double check your message for accuracy first. And remember, spell check is your friend!
· Signature – in the professional arena it is appropriate for your signature line to include your first and last name, your title, the name of your business, as well as your work phone number, email address, and website. This gives your email recipient the opportunity to reach you via alternate methods.
Nonverbals Speak Volumes
Regarding workplace communication in person; you must be aware of all the messages you are sending at once. This is where your non-verbal communication can speak louder than your words. Here are just a few tips on what to consider when interacting with the public:
· Stand to greet – when someone new arrives at your facility, stand and greet them. If you are sitting in your office, kneeling at a product display, or sitting in your cart as you do a walk-through of your property when a new client appears, give them the attention they deserve, your attention.
· Eye contact – as you are working with a client, regardless of whether it’s filling out forms, taking them on a tour of your facility, processing a payment, or something else, be sure to look them in the eye and acknowledge them. Show them that they have value and likewise, they will appreciate the worth of your establishment.
· Attire/personal grooming – it’s imperative in the workplace that you look the part. In order for you or your company to be taken seriously, you must have the presence of someone that can handle a business and run it with ease. Even on a competent person, sloppiness, torn clothing, overly revealing outfits, dirty hands, and overall unkemptness will be judged harshly and will receive unfavorable reactions.
Remember, every communication you offer is a form of customer service. Everything you say and do reflects on you, and therefore the business you are representing. Consider this as you speak with, email to, and interact with your clients. Your professionalism in all forms of workplace communication will chime loudly through your establishment and reflect admirably on what you and your business have to offer.
Elise Saur has been in the Moving and Storage industry for over 17 years. Her professional experiences have included preschool and elementary teaching, a Marketing Analyst in the Storage division of U-Haul International, and for the last 11 years part of the U-Haul Self-Storage Affiliate Network where she is currently the Operations Manager. Elise finds being part of the self-storage industry extremely rewarding and enjoys working alongside a team of professionals to help encourage small business owners across North America to enhance their self-storage operations and overall bottom line.