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Communication Skills To Break From The Technology Black Hole

Posted on June 10, 2015 by Luanne Paynick

communication break through

The opportunities for face-to-face interactions are lessening. You know this from your own experience. It is a luxury to look someone in the eye and feel connected to them. One result is that your listeners, on the receiving end of the e-mails you send or respond to, are often left to judge you by only that, your e-mails – their content and timeliness. Ideally, you will leave them with a positive impression. But, unless you have a strategy in mind for how you are going to approach your e-mail communication, you may end up leaving a less than favorable impression. And, you may find that people’s desire and sense of urgency to respond leaves a lot to be desired.

It starts with you. You are in charge of you, and your behaviors. And, you have an opportunity to influence the behaviors of the people you manage, who are a reflection of you. So, how do you want your “listeners” to judge you and your team? What impression do you want to make?

Imagine what might happen if you were to . . .

Define your leader vision (how you want to be viewed by others).
With that vision in mind, you can decide how you want to manage e-mails – both sending and receiving. From our experience, when you are clear on that vision, your actions fall in alignment with it.

Work with your team to define a team vision (how they want to be viewed by others).
It is less work to hold a team accountable to the behaviors that support the vision they helped create. Not to mention, your vision will be richer, more dynamic and representative of the diversity of the team you manage.

Be a role model for your team.
Once you have defined the e-mail behaviors that support your vision – use them!!

Respond with a sense of urgency.
This is critical whether that means sending out a message that people need to receive in order to act, or responding to a message you have received. Remember, you are judged by what others see, or don’t see, on the receiving end. The general rule of thumb is to respond within 24 hours. Therefore, that is the standard others are likely to hold you accountable to. How do you want to be viewed? What do you want the standard to be for you and your team?

Know the relationships that are important to you, so that you can prioritize.
That value could be based on the role someone plays within the organization, the door they may open for you in your career, or a solid partnership with a trusted vendor. If the relationship is a valued one, then it is critical that you manage yourself to do what it takes to keep the relationship whole and positive, and respond accordingly.

Manage your e-mail responses.
Someone once said, “You cannot deliver on 100% of what you promised, but you can manage 100% of what you promised.” E-mails are similar. You may not be able to respond fully to every important e-mail you receive, but you can probably manage 100% of them. That might mean waiting 24 hours for the ones that can wait, or responding with a shorter response than what is ultimately needed. Something like the following might work:

I’ll get back to you on this.
How soon do you need this?
Thanks! I’ll get you what you need by your deadline.

 

 

Image courtesy of renjith krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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