“Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.” ~ Paul J. Meyer
Last week I shared with you the importance of both verbal and non-verbal communication at work. I talked how your personal image, your listening skill and your non-verbal communication (handshake, eye-contact, smile, ease and politesse) can make or break your first impression and your chance for achieving the desirable outcome.
I also talked about a effective phone calls’ protocol that can help you to achieve your goals and may build important relationships. Today I continue talking about verbal communication that you use when you write effective and impactful emails as well as importance of respecting boundaries in a work environment.
Write Emails Like a Pro
From my numerous email exchanges, whether people write them to me for the first time or respond to my emails, I’ve noticed how small details and the intonations of emails make a difference in the way I interpret the message and experience its sender.
Below are my observations about writing emails and subsequent suggestions:
- Name: When you use a person’s name, it automatically makes the email more personal and less formal.
- Opening: When you start your email with a focus on the other person (e.g. “I trust all is well,” or “I hope all is well,” or “How are you?” “How is your new job going?”), it comes across as you being considerate and polite.
- Call to Action: Once you write the body of your email, whether it is a request for help, an inquiry or a ‘catching up with you’ kind of email, have a ‘call to action’ phrase that is pertinent and appropriate (e.g. “Look forward to hearing from you,” or “Please advise,” or “Please clarify what I am missing here.”).
- Closing: Always finish your email by expressing appreciation for something (e.g. “Thank you for your kind attention and assistance,” or “I appreciate you taking time to meet with me,” or “I truly appreciate all the help you offered.”)
- Mirror the sender’s communication style: Each person has a preferred communication style. If you receive a brief text or email, be brief in your response as well (if possible). If the sender’s email is formal and impersonal, respond in a respectful yet unemotional/formal manner. If the person prefers text or email instead of a phone call, notice it and communicate with them ‘in kind’ – via email or text.
Gain awareness of the ‘unspoken guidelines’ of your written communication and notice how it effects the outcome.
Should You ‘Be Yourself’ at Work?
I would like to answer this question with my favorite ‘it depends’ answer. I am a big believer in setting and respecting boundaries, in both your personal and professional life. As Dr. Phil McGraw, a prominent psychologist and TV show host, often states, “You teach people how to treat you.”
If ‘being yourself’ means sharing your personal or financial challenges with your colleagues at work, whining about not being satisfied with your job or complaining about particular co-workers or managers to your other colleagues – then NO, it’s not a good idea to ‘be yourself’ at work! I believe that a true professional should not bring any personal issues to work. They should act responsibly and respectfully in the work environment.
Things come up in everybody’s life – financial ruin, relationship challenges, personal losses and health issues. Many may disagree with me, but I feel that these matters must be handled outside of the work environment.
I realize that it’s often not easy because most people build personal relationships in their workplace. But professionalism assumes being responsible for the environment you create around yourself, for knowing and respecting your own and other people boundaries.
One common mistake I have noticed some people make when they start a new job or a business is asking too many questions and often disturbing and distracting others’ work. When you feel that you do not understand something, instead of asking questions, rely on yourself to find answers.
You will be better off researching the subject yourself first and really making a concerted effort to find a solution to the problem on your own. If you don’t find a desired answer after that, then it’s appropriate to ask questions. This way, you come across as self-reliant and resourceful individual.
You don’t teach co-workers to treat you with respect by simply expecting or demanding it. You teach people to respect you by the way you conduct yourself at work. The way you speak and act, the way you handle personal and professional challenges, your attitude and work ethics all factor into the impression you create.
A personal drama that you may be going through right now in your home life has no room in your workplace. Any work conflicts should be resolved by conveying your values and boundaries calmly and clearly, with dignity and respect toward others.
If ‘being yourself’ means employing honesty in a diplomatic way, acting with confidence and in consideration of others, being aware of your own boundaries and respecting others’ boundaries, then it’s a good idea to ‘be yourself’ at work.
I recall working for a major financial institution with a colleague who was well respected by his co-workers and managers. One day I learned that he had some personal misfortune and lived out of his car for a substantial length of time before he was able to regain his financial footing. Not once did he complain or share his personal drama at work! This guy was a pro at maintaining boundaries between his personal and professional life.
* Some of the text is taken from my International Bestseller book “A Shift toward Purpose” available on Amazon HERE
With Love and Gratitude,
Without communication there really is no conversation and no way to build relationships. Whether that is on a personal or business level, people remember you for the way you engage and make them feel seen and heard. Everything you’ve written about in this post, resonates strongly with me and if only people took the time to think about the other person first, perhaps on a more global level, we’d have more compassion, understanding and ultimately co-operation and community building. That’s the rose-coloured glass optimist in me seeing possibilities for a much kinder and more peaceful world.
Dear Beverley, love your comment! It is so true that people respond to you by the way you make THEM feel, the way you engage THEM and listen to THEM. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your insights and wisdom!
Great tips especially on the email, Also listening is so important 🙂
Thank you for your kind words, Suzie! Yes, listening is a VERY important aspect of communication and… it was covered in the previous week’s post… 🙂
Communication. Such a huge area to cover, and you covered several nicely, Millen. Written communication is an area that should be given special attention and you focused on the do’s and don’ts very well. The challenge is that the recipients will read an email in the voice that they interpret, which quite often is totally different from the tone that the sender meant to convey.
By incorporating some of the strategies you mentioned, this can help to alleviate many misinterpretations. And I really like the emphasis you placed on the fact that personal dramas, etc. have no place in the workplace. If we’re self-employed, I feel there are many other things we can share with our clients rather than sharing our personal challenges. It changes the dynamics subtly. Thanks for an informative post.
Thank you very much for stopping by, Yvonne. I appreciate your insightful comment, especially mentioning the importance of written communication and awareness of the boundaries in a work environment.
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