When I was in high school we learned to type business letters using standard form templates and mastering the art of carbon paper. Communication today is faster, more effective and sometimes trickier than spending the day crafting the perfect letter. After all, we often discover a mistake after clicking “send.” How can you get the most from your business communication now that we’ve moved on from paper?
Email has taken the place of memos and letters in many organizations. Email and list building is also a pillar of sales strategy for many entrepreneurs. In an effort to stand out in a crowded inbox, some writers resort to questionable subject lines. Phrases designed to shock or offend, intentional typos to gain attention, and wild claims cannot make up for a poorly written email and are unlikely to tempt me to open your message at all. Write subject lines that are honest and clear. We’re no longer as formal in business as we once were, but readers deserve respect.
Respect shines through in the way you write and how you share. Social media is for connection and not confidentiality. You can find new clients from around the world, and have conversations on important issues across time zones thanks to social media. Posting, following, clicking and commenting can help you discover your tribe a’ la Seth Godin or just give you some relief from the isolation of working in a home office.
Millions of potential new contacts are just a finger tap away. Yet, once you do connect it’s time to exercise some caution. Working out your problems and venting your frustrations should happen in closed groups and secure platforms. When in doubt—don’t post information you don’t want all the world to see.
Text messaging and social media posting are addictively swift, but not always the best choice. Whether because of driving or a busy day, your contacts may not be able to reply right away. Don’t always expect or give instant responses. Repeated texts and nagging for a reply smacks of desperation and can cause people to shun your messages and business.
Digital communication is fast, flexible and free—provided you use it well. We still need careful thought and attention to detail in our business messages, even without the piles of paper.