In part one of this blog we discussed;
Why this topic? The value of good business language skills. Business versus personal communication. And when should you use the phone.
It would worth your time to review that blog first so you have context for the following comments.
The role of e-mail
E-mail is critical to the life blood of business communication. However, it should not replace a phone call when it is required. All too often emails are poorly written with grammatical and spelling errors. The short forms of text messaging have also found a place in e-mails. The result is that inexperience and immaturity can be clearly visible in e-mails.
The role of text and instant messaging
If your goal is career advancement by developing business acumen, then texting should be considered your most relationally familiar and casual form of communication. It’s not always appropriate, whether you think so or not. Text messaging via IM, Jabber, or Lync can have a limited role upward within a business. It may be helpful organizing dinner details on a business trip. Why? Because it is largely the domain of personal lives. It may not harm your career to be a strong user of text messaging, but it also does not have the “presence” of leadership.
The phone: Relationships and networking
Voice to voice or face to face are the right tools to build, and expand, new business relationships. Text and e-mail are great relationship maintenance tools. Success in business includes building an ever widening circle of relationships. By honing phone and face to face communication skills you will be more successful.
Old school tips for using the phone
- Smile when on the phone, it makes a difference in the tone of your voice.
- Stand up when you want to be more formal – it helps with your “presence” on the call.
- Don’t walk around. Today’s audio quality will reflect that movement and it then sounds like you are not paying attention.
- Write call guidance or objective notes before you dial so you stay on message.
- Take notes, even ask for a moment to do so as it makes the other person feel valued and listened too.
- The biggest one is to “be in the moment”. Don’t multitask. It’s transparent to listeners.
The role of voice mail
Voicemail, in a business context, is really important. What you say, how you say it, and what you don’t say, are all important. All too often we get caught off guard by the voicemail prompt. Plan for the prompt and have planned voicemail script. Mine is;
- State my name and the time of my call
- State my reason for the call (the first part of the message)
- State my call to action (what I need them to do)
- State my phone number, and then repeat my phone number
- I do all of the above in a moderate to slow speaking pace to ensure the listener can hear and comprehend me
The learned script ensures that I sound professional, accommodates listener audio quality challenges, and assists them in capturing my number.
I have been told to never leave a voice message as that is old school. Rather I should hang up and text the person. I disagree with that. A few thoughts on this. One: I use voice to text to have my voice mail messages come to me in text format. This solves the inconvenience issue. Two: When I leave a voice message I want the receipting person to hear my voice, the tone, inflection, and other indicators.
The voice capabilities of your phone are a wonderful tool. Use it well and often as it will pay dividends in your business relationships.
What are your favourite phone use tips? What do you think about text versus e-mail versus the phone?