Andrea shares best practices for texting, email, phone, virtual and in-person meetings. This is beyond the basics! Of course, you need to be courteous and punctual. These tips will elevate your communication effectiveness across various media.

CONTENTS

  • Resources
  • Transcript

RESOURCES

“COMMUNICATION MEDIA: Which medium is best for your message?”

Talk About Talk 


TRANSCRIPT

All right, I’ve got a great tip for you right out of the gates. A simple thing to keep in mind the next time you’re texting someone. Are you ready? Here it is.

When you’re texting someone, make sure you nail the first three or four words. Why is this so important? Well. Take your phone out and look at your texts. You see a list of everyone that’s texted you, plus a preview of the first line from each person’s text. 

There’s a chance that the people that you’re texting are going to be seeing the first few words of that text several times. So think carefully about those first three or four words. Keep it positive, or at least consistent with the. Tone, you’re trying to share. Got it?

In this episode, you’re going to hear my top tips for texting, email, phone, online meetings, and in person meetings.  

Of course there are plenty of things that you should already know.  Things that go without saying, like don’t interrupt, start and end meetings on time, watching your language, being focused, and so on. That is more like media skills 101.  We’re NOT what we’re talking about here. This episode goes beyond the basics

I hope you know –and practice– all of this general advice. This is the stuff that comes up if you search “best practices for texting” or phone etiquette,” or “do’s and don’ts for online meetings”  So instead, I’m going to share with you three tips or hacks that I hope will truly elevate your communication.  And hopefully, a few things you haven’t considered before. 

If you’re a regular listener to Talk About Talk, welcome back and I’m so glad you’re here! If you’re a new listener, then let me introduce myself. My name is Dr. Andrea Wojnicki and I’m your executive communication coach. You can call me Andrea!  I’m also the founder of Talk About Talk, where I coach communication skills to ambitious executives to help them elevate their confidence, and their executive presence. Ultimately, I help them get noticed for the right reasons and get promoted. 

If you go to the Talk About Talk.com website, you’ll find many resources to help you out. There’s one-on-one coaching, online courses, corporate workshops, the archive of this bi-weekly podcast, AND, I really hope you’ll sign up for the Talk About Talk communication coaching newsletter. That newsletter is your chance to get communication coaching from me every week. 

If you’re a regular listener to Talk About Talk, you also know that you don’t need to take notes, because I do that for you. At the end of this episode, I will briefly summarize the main points, and you can always read the shownotes.  So as I said, you don’t need to take notes,  Just keep doing whatever you’re doing – walking, driving, whatever. I got your back. 

All right let’s get into this. This episode is part two of two back-to-back episodes focused on communication media – like texting, email, phone, and virtual and in-person meetings.  These episodes were inspired by a listener named Mike who recorded his Q about how to get his team to start holding short productive meetings, instead of going back and forth and back and forth on email.

In the most recent episode, #118, we talked about which medium is best for your message. In other words, how you should decide whether to text or email or phone or hold a virtual or online meeting.  I’m not going to review the learnings from episode 118, except to remind you to consider the WHO, the WHAT and the WHY before you go on autopilot and start cranking out that email or whatever your default media is.  Instead, consider with whom you’re communicating, WHAT is the content of the message, and WHY you’re communicating.  These Qs should illuminate which medium is ideal. Of course, there are many other specific things to consider, which you can learn from listening to episode 118.  It’s a short one, less than 17 minutes. So please go listen to that one first, ok?

So now onto best practices for each of these media.  I’ve got my best tips for you for each of the media we’ve been talking about: texting, email, phone, virtual meetings and online meetings. 

If you’ve been listening to the Talk About Talk podcast for awhile, you probably know that I’m a big fan of the power of 3.  So consistent with that I’ve narrowed it down to my top 3 tips for each of these 5 mediums.  Are you ready?

Let’s start with

Texting – meant to be quick and timely. That means short or brief and timely communication.

1. Don’t go on too long. If it’s really long that might be a signal that you’re using the wrong medium! Maybe you should pick up the phone or send an email instead. Long texts are annoying and not ideal for getting your message communicated. So keep it short.

2. Also related to the fact that texts are quick & timely. Texts are meant to be fast, But, and this is a big but, always proofread your texts before sending. Between my fat fingers and auto-correct, I’ve learned this one the hard way.  Always proofread your texts.  And if you’re dictating through Siri where there may be other mistakes, make sure you tell the person – please excuse typos, I’m dictating this text through Siri.

3. The point I already shared with you at the very beginning of this episode. Take care with the first 3-4 words of your text, because they may end up being read and re-read several times in the other person’s text preview list.

Email

1. Update the title. People almost always appreciate titles that are more specific to the contents of the email. You can get their attention.

2. Get to the point early in the email.  Why are you emailing?  I usually write one sentence that’s more personal and friendly – like “I hope you had a good weekend” or “I hope you are having a productive week”, something like that.  Then I get right into it.  “The reason I’m emailing you is to ask you something” or just ask the question “Can we please set up a meeting? Here are 3 times I’m available.”  The point here is, get to the point sooner rather than later.

3. Consider whose names you include in the TO, CC & BCC lines.  Overall, the fewer people, the better.  If nothing else, because you don’t want to add to the sea of emails. Specifically, a few things.

  • TO – people who you expect to reply
  • CC – people who need to know the content of the email but who do not need to reply
  • BC – Don’t use it! I’ve heard way too many horror stories about blind copied emails.  Like when people who are BC’d reply directly to the email, outing the sender. Instead, if you need someone else to know what you wrote, send them a copy of the email separately. Got it?

Phone

1. It is synchronous, so consider the time of day! Texting and email are asynchronous. So it’s ok to text or email late at night or early on Saturday morning. With the phone it’s real time. So think about what the other person is probably doing before you call. 

2. Start each phone with your name and ask if the person has time. For me, I would say “Hi this is Andrea from Talk About Talk. Do you have ten minutes to talk through the workshop content?” Or if it was personal, I say “Hey, it’s Andrea.  Do you have a sec?” Yes, even if the person knows you and has call display. And even if it is a scheduled phone call. This way you’re not being presumptuous that they know who you are, and you’re checking in first to see that they have time to talk. 

3. Pet peeve of mine. Always listen to voicemail before calling someone back. This is more efficient and common courtesy. If someone took the time to leave you a message, listen to it before calling them.  Has this ever happened to you?  You call someone and they don’t pick up.  Their Vmail asks you to leave them a detailed message.  So you do. You take the time to think thorough and share the important details.  Then they call you back immediately and say “hey, I saw you called.  What’s up?”  Ugh. I’m tempted to say “yes, I just left you a detailed message.  Please listen to it and then let me know if you have any Qs.  OK, that might be a bit snippety, but it’s very easy to listen to messages, and many of us even have voice-to-text if you don’t want to listen. 

So those are the 3 tips for the phone….

Online meetings

1. A few things about the Camera: 

  • Don’t have to look at it the whole time, but definitely yes when you’re talking and making an important point.
  • Camera should be at eye level.  Eye to eye…
  • If you’re not looking at the screen/camera, tell them why (story of client who was writing notes)

2.  No multitasking. 

3. Use the functionality of online meetings: Turn camera on, use the mute function, use the chat, reactions, etc. This will keep other people engaged too!

4. Tip for my coaching clients who are looking for feedback on their communication skills: record the meeting (with the permission of the other participants), and then watch the recording, specifically watching and listening to what you say and how you say it. This is the fastest way to improve your communication skills.

In-person

1. Put your phone away
2. Start & end on time (all meetings).  It’s respectful and productive.
3. *** Take advantage of the post-meeting debrief! Ask what they thought about something in the meeting, what’s happening next, what else people are working on, etc

That’s the last tip!  We’ve covered 3 of my top tips for each of the 5 media: text, email, phone, and virtual and in-person meetings.  What was your favourite hack from the 15 points that I shared?  I’d love to know.

Let me briefly review them:

For Texting – 

  • Keep it short
  • Proofread
  • Take care with first 3-4 words

Email

  • Update the title. 
  • Get to the point early in the email. 
  • Consider whose names you include in the TO, CC & BCC lines.  

Phone

  • Consider the time of day! 
  • Start each call with your name and ask if the person has time. 
  • Always listen to a voicemail before calling someone back. 

Online meetings

  • Camera tips
  • Use the functionality of online meetings: 
  • If you are really serious about improving your communication skills, record the meeting and watch yourself later

In person

  • Put your phone away
  • Start & end on time 
  • *** Take advantage of the post-meeting debrief! 

That’s it.  15 tips for you.  Were there a few in there that you hadn’t considered?  Which one is your favourite?  I’d love to know. Please email me at andrea@talkabouttalk.com and let me know. I always love hearing from you.  Topic suggestions, feedback, bring it on!  You can also message me on LinkedIn or go to the talkabouttalk.com website and leave me a message there. While you’re on the website, please please sign up for the weekly communication coaching newsletter.

Thanks again for listening.  And talk soon!

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