Write This, Not That!

Running a business is often challenging.  One of the biggest challenges for everyone, whether you have a business or not, is communication.  I admit I’m not a perfect communicator, but I strive to do my best.  Today I thought I would share 4 things that you should pay attention to whether you’re sending out (written) communications to a client or to your boss at work.

Spelling: this seems like the most obvious, but I keep finding programs and websites that DON’T check your spelling!  If I’m not sure the website is checking my spelling, I type in some random letters like “ljeic” and make sure it shows the squiggly little red line underneath.  If I don’t see the line I know I’ve got to copy/paste my work into a Word document or blank email to check the spelling.   It’s one extra step, but it can make all the difference.

Abbreviations: believe me, I know how busy you are.  But, that doesn’t mean your communication has to suffer.  Abbreviations like don’t, can’t, would’ve etc, are fine to abbreviate.  But when you start abbreviating things like tomorrow  is (tms), and would (wld), you’re going down a slippery, and unprofessional, slope.   Also, don’t cave to some of the texting abbreviations we use like u for you and thx for thank you.  Rather than abbreviations, apply my next point.

Get to the point: there are a lot of things you could say in your communication.  Make sure that what you’re saying in your communication has a point and is necessary.  If you’re apologizing, don’t share the whole story, just say that you’re sorry and move on.  Share the important details in a calm, polite manner, making sure to answer all their questions.

Noninclusive: one of my frequent frustrations is people who don’t include enough information, or say it clearly enough.  In a couple of emails I’ve seen people actually label their links below their signature (Facebook: xxx, Twitter: xxx, Website: xxx etc.)   which is helpful.  If you’ve been interviewed or have videos you could say something like “See us in action with our home organization clients on YouTube” and then provide a link after that, don’t just say “We’re on YouTube”.  If you don’t want to clutter up an email with all the extra information of how someone can get in contact with you, say that you’ll include it all below your signature, but make sure you do include it.  If you place an ad for a secretary, reply to several emails and set up interviews, but don’t say that you work with animals until they show up at your address for the interview, you could be putting a person with allergies in a difficult situation.

These are just 4 thoughts on how to be a better communicator in your written business communications.  In two weeks I’ll share about some tips for verbal communications.  What are some of your biggest frustrations with business communications?  Share your challenges and thoughts below.

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