2020 Was A Great Year!December 31, 2020
You are BUSY! I know, I get it. “Busy” has become a business and lifestyle epidemic of it’s own and it is causing numerous casualties. While I have some thoughts and suggestions on how to be busy without getting frazzled, that’s a different article. Right now, as we head into the holiday season and our lives get busier than ever, it’s important that we make an extra effort to communicate effectively so we can help minimize stress on ourselves and the people around us.
3 Simple Email Rules
- Got It! I generally receive more than 200 emails a day. While most are junk, some are actually important for my business. The problem is, I don’t always have time to reply to emails right when they come in. Well, that’s what I have told myself in the past. The truth is, I don’t always have time for a FULL reply, but I DO always have time for a short one. While I admit, I haven’t quite made this the constant habit it should be, I have found clients and colleagues to be MUCH more cooperative when I send a quick reply right away rather than waiting until I have time to explain everything. A quick “Got it! I am in meetings today but will get back to you by noon tomorrow” goes a really long way in building relationships. AND, it helps eliminate concerns about fickle technology that often sends emails into the ether! Try sending “Got it” replies to buy yourself time while reinforcing how important the sender and/or topic is to you and see how it works.
- Brief Bullets. Different personalities communicate differently. Some like to provide a plethora of details, while others keep it brief and to the point. Part of good communication is being able to identify who likes what so you can adjust your style accordingly and aid in effective communication. I am one of those who likes to share what I consider “important details.” However, what I find important is not always what other people want to know, and my details can definitely drown out the key points if I let them. To make it easy on everyone, I’ve found that using bullets to share specific details not only helps me keep things brief, it makes it a LOT easier for the reader to digest the facts being shared.
- More than 3? Call Me. While email is convenient, there’s a point where it can become a tedious string of back-and-forths that take too much time and dilute the message. Generally, if you can’t explain or resolve an issue in less than three emails, scheduling a phone call is recommended. Just don’t use the call as an excuse to add more discussions to the list. If you’re going to do that, schedule a meeting. Otherwise, keep the call focused on the topic at hand and address it efficiently.
2 Gentle Reminders
- Saying “No” is OK. During this busy season it’s common to over-extend yourself as you try to juggle your regular workload, business festivities, and personal holiday activities. Instead of burning yourself out, practice communicating what you need. It may be that you need to say “no” to some invites, special projects, or even family expectations. Saying no can be very empowering and can help create balance in your work and home life. You may feel a little guilty at first, but in the long-run, you’ll be glad you did!
- Don’t forget your manners. Good communication is open, encouraging, and respectful. No matter what the situation or who you are communicating with, good manners create good relationships. So, make an effort to say “please” and “thank you” - you can’t say these enough! And, take it a step further and open up the dialogue by asking people for their ideas, opinions, and input. Everyone has something to contribute and people feel respected when asked to share their thoughts.
This is the season when stress runs high and communication breaks down, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Work on building effective communication habits throughout the year and if all else fails, take a break, close your eyes and breathe deeply for a while – it will help get you back on track!