Preferred Methods of Communication

By: Michael

In today’s technological society communication is easily accessible at virtually any given moment. People are able to remain connected even across seas. Given this, there is a surprising social phenomenon that I’ve noticed lately, especially during the transitional progress of my college career. That phenomenon is the increasing annoyance of the traditional phone call. In fact, even in the work place, communication is starting to trend more to other immediate forms of communication such as e-mail. This trend is starting to cause confusion among job seekers and employees on when to use the appropriate forms of communication.

It is becoming more common to schedule a phone call instead of spontaneously calling and/or leaving a voicemail. If you think about it, this makes sense. Phone calls can be intrusive and annoying if you are not expecting them and it is pretty customary to provide specific call time for others who are trying to contact you. Today’s technology causes us to communicate on a highly macro level, even at an inter-office level. Many employees report receiving an average of 150 e-mails a day in the business field! From my perspective, working in an office setting even as an intern/entry-level employee, I would receive an average of 10-15 emails every couple of hours. Can you imagine if all those messages were delivered by phone call? The efficiency of e-mail also allows for prioritization and selectivity. In other words, messages get filtered through.

As you can probably tell, there are some specific etiquette tips that need to be remembered when it comes to communication in the work force, whether it be contacting an employer about a job, communicating in the office, or in some cases, communicating in general. Here are a few examples:

  • If you receive a voicemail asking you to give a call back, do so. DO NOT RESPOND BY E-MAIL. Likewise, if you are the one leaving the message, be sure to leave a time that you can be reached. There is nothing more annoying than playing phone tag when you are trying to hear back on a job offer.
  • E-mails are intended to be short, quick, and to the point. If you are intending to have a conversation through e-mail, you are doing it wrong. A good e-mail has all the questions or memos you need in one message.
  • Don’t call someone more than once in a short period of time. If you have to leave a message, do so and wait for a call back. Depending on the urgency of the situation, use your judgment to determine if it has been long enough to inquire again (typically wait 1-2 days).
  • Don’t make inter-office phone calls when e-mail would suffice.
  • Consider before leaving a voicemail. Then consider again. It might be easier for both you and the recipient to just send an e-mail.

While I might disagree with the trend towards digital communication over personal, it is an important aspect while job seeking or being in the workforce. Hopefully this helps answer some questions about proper professional communication.

Related Article: How to Stay Professional on Your Mobile Phone

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Email Etiquette 101

By: Whitney

Every time I have to send an email I get a little nervous. I am so worried something I say will be misinterpreted and I will either end up unintentionally offending someone or look like a fool. Does anyone else have this problem?

In the world we now live in email has become an essential form of communication whether it be in the workplace or in college. I send many emails a day to everyone from old friends to professors, and it is so important that the email you send is right for the person receiving the message. Just like in any form of communication there is a lot of room for misunderstandings. The danger of email is that the receiver does not have a chance to see your face or your body language, which in normal conversations is key to understanding messages. So the question is… What can I do to make sure that I am emailing appropriately?

Angela Nielsen posted on Inspired Mag an infographic entitled “Email Etiquette More Than Just Manners.” I found this blog post to be very interesting and helpful! It states 15 tips for better email etiquette. While I am not going to go into great detail about all of them, I want to share the ones I found to be especially informative.

Email 1

1. Think, write, and think again: As I said above, in an email the receiver cannot read your body language to assist them in figuring out what you are trying to say. This being said, it is very important to think about what your message is, then write it down. It is also important to think about the message again especially in trying to figure out how the message is going to be received on the other end.

Email 2

2. Use a meaningful subject line: When I first started emailing I hardly ever used the subject line, mostly because I didn’t know what to put in it. I have changed my thinking now and use it every time. If you are emailing a professor, co-worker, or boss, it is important to let them know what the message is about otherwise it is likely to be ignored (like the other 6,759 unread emails that often end up in many inboxes). Even simply stating the class it is for or the project you are working on is better than just leaving it blank because it gives context to your message before they open it.

Email 3

3. One of the most important topics she brings up is to make sure to proof and spell check your email before you send it. When you send a message with a lot of misspelled words or bad grammar you are sending a message you either did not care enough to proofread the message or that you did not learn proper English. Neither of which is a message you want to send to a professor, boss, or co-worker. To add to her words, make sure you do not use abbreviations such as lol or c u there. This is not professional and if you use these shortcuts you will not be seen with respect in the professional world.

email 4

4. The final tip I am going to share is take time to reply. Although not all messages need a reply. Even sending a simple thank you back to the sender to let them know you received the message is always better than leaving the message unanswered.

I know that I have started to pay extra close attention to what I send through email. I make sure to keep in mind that once I send a message, I can’t take back what I said or change the language I used. Email is something you have to do right the first time. So before you send another email, I hope these tips help you in sending an email that is appropriate for your audience, clear, and error-free. For the rest of the tips talked about by Angela Nielson visit http://inspiredm.com/email-etiquette/.

Of Possible Interest: 

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Everyday Communication

By: Justine [Harmony | Communication | Futuristic | Empathy | Achiever]

Think back to your last job interview. What were the questions that you seemed to struggle the most with?  Strengths and weaknesses are often inquired about by the interviewer because they want to know more about how you describe yourself and possibly how you fit into the company.  Although it seems to be one of the hardest interview answers to formulate, in this blog post I will focus on my strength of communication.

CliftonStrengths for Students - Communication

Last year when I began working in the Career & Internship Services office I took the CliftonStrengths for Students assessment for my first time and communication came up in my top 5 strengths, which personally I found to be surprising. I had never considered myself to be overly confident with speaking and similar to many others, I was also not a huge fan of public speaking. So as I reflected about how this strength fit into my life I began to realize that communication has always been a significant part of my life.

Communication is one of many universal skills that are key to success in any career field.  Although many people have different thoughts when explaining the role of communication, the truth is that it exists in many forms. Communication takes place between coworkers, supervisors, and of course, during presentations.  Nowadays communication can also involve technology through email, texting, and social media. Managing the different methods and means of communication can be overwhelming. Even with it being one of my top strengths, communication in the form of public speaking hasn’t ever been my favorite thing. Over the past year, I have been actively trying to develop this strength through class presentations, workshops through Career & Internship Services, and other endeavors with much success. It’s true that the more you practice a skill the easier it becomes.

It’s been over a year since my first encounter with StrengthsQuest revealing communication to me. Just recently I decided to revisit the assessment and after taking it a second time I found communication to be my number one strength within my top 5.  This was very inspiring to me. From a year ago not even realizing that communication was a strength, to practicing and fully embracing it over the past year, has now made it my number one asset! CliftonStrengths for Students is a very valuable tool that has helped me to not only realize strengths that I didn’t know I had but also has helped me focus on improving a strength that I will be able to use in any area of life.

Check out the 33 other Strengths

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