Has anyone ever broken 💔 up with you via text?
Or proposed to you over the phone?
I hope not!
Yes, these examples are clichés. But they perfectly illustrate why your choice of communication medium is important.
This goes for both personal and professional contexts.
Here’s an example in a professional, B2B sales context. My Uncle Mike shared a story with me recently about someone trying to sell him something for his company. Mike was ready to buy, but he had a few questions. So he asked the salesperson to give him a call.
The salesperson replied to the email and asked Mike what he needed to know. Again, Mike asked him to give him a call. This happened a few times…
“Just pick up the %$#@ phone!”
Guess what? The salesperson never called. He also lost the sale.
In last week’s newsletter, I thanked another “Mike” who left me a question on the Talk About Talk website:
“…I have an issue in my office where my staff sends multiple e-mail messages to discuss a topic when a single conversation or meeting would solve the matter in less time and with less confusion. Do you have any advice on how I might be able to change this behavior?”
The moral of both Mikes’ stories is the same:
Communication media matters.
A few questions to ask yourself before you send that email:Is it a SENSITIVE topic?
- When sharing something confidential or when privacy is a concern, it’s best to either meet face-to-face or pick up the phone, instead of sending texts or emails, which could be shared widely (accidentally or not).
- The same goes for communicating about emotionally sensitive issues. Being able to see and hear what’s going on beyond the words will result in better communication, and help avoid miscommunication.
- Is it a quick status update? Unless they’re in the office next door or you’re passing by anyway, an email will do.
- Do you need to brainstorm or work out a complicated problem? Go ahead and schedule that meeting where you can collaborate.
- For truly urgent matters, your best bet is to use the medium the person is most likely to respond to quickly – probably phone or text, but it depends on the person.
- If you’re serving a client or selling to a customer (like my Uncle Mike), part of your job is to determine their preferred medium!
- In a professional context, younger folks tend to prefer text or email. Older folks tend to prefer the phone or in-person meetings.
That’s it for this week. I hope this list will help you match your message to the ideal communication medium.
Please forward this email to your friends and colleagues who might be interested in improving their communication skills. THANK YOU!
If you have any questions, suggestions or feedback, please email me anytime. I love hearing from you.
Executive Communication Coach
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