The Surprising Effect of Chat and Email Etiquette on Communication at Work

One of the most basic necessities of any workplace is proper communication. In today’s world that runs on a hectic schedule, where every productive minute counts, the ability to instantly communicate has been a boon for the global work scenario. However, even in our fast-paced lives, writing etiquette can sometimes make all the difference between successful and unsuccessful communication. Let’s find out how chat and email etiquette can enhance our written communication and get us where we want.

Email etiquette

Make intros & outros count

Beyond etiquette, common sense should prevail in any kind of communication, be it oral or written. Regardless of the communication medium, be polite and greet first. Not just barge into somebody with a question. Instead, first say hello. It’s the polite and considerate way to break the ice.

And same holds true for ending the conversation. We certainly know when it’s time, but we’re still expecting the grand finale 😉 Here are some proven ideas on how to end your emails in style. As for instant messages or group chats, a simple thank you can work wonders.

Time as a resource

More than ever, time is a highly limited resource. Hence, showing respect for your interlocutors’ time means showing respect for them as individuals. It doesn’t matter if you chat, email or speak on the phone, just be prepared. Gather all your facts and, more importantly, make sure you know what to ask (for). They say the devil is in the little details, so you’d better think of them way in advance 😉 Next time you need something else from that person, they’ll remember it and will be more willing to answer.

And there’s one more aspect that you should consider. Many studies have revealed how many resources we waste to regain it. If you have more things you need to discuss with someone, you should do it with as few interruptions as possible. The more you disrupt the other person, the smaller and weaker becomes your collaboration output. So, keep the number of interruptions as low as possible.

The two Cs – correct and concise

Although communication has been made easy by technology, companies have noticed that many employees have total disregard for writing correctly. And what might be acceptable in private discussions is not necessarily OK in business, no matter how friendly the interlocutors are. This too is an important component of the chat and email etiquette.

Just think it this way. Typos and grammatical errors make the writer look ignorant and dull. Swallowing up all the vowels to make a word shorter and mixing up homophones are some of the common mistakes that people make on instant messaging and email, which may confuse the reader and fail to convey the message that the person intended to send across.

Punctuation abuse like using more than one question mark or exclamation might make you look bossy or rude. And let’s not forget that unnecessary letter capitalization will be perceived as screaming. Is this WHAT you want?! I think NOT!!! 🙂

On the other hand, even when your message is correct, it might prove difficult to read if you write an entire novel. Many bad things happen due to deficient communication, so make sure you are concise and crystal clear. This way, you eliminate two pain points at the same time. First, your communication partner won’t waste time trying to figure out what you meant and second, even better, they won’t misunderstand you.

Communication vs. miscommunication

We all know it: communication as a process inevitably entails a lot of miscommunication. And considering communication is key to turning a group of people into a team, miscommunication becomes part of every workday. The best is to prevent it, but you cannot do it every time.

So, what do you do when it happens? First of all, find out what type of miscommunication you’re dealing with. And then you can try solving it.

  • Misunderstanding: When people fail to understand something, they start making assumptions, which usually are far from being correct. Biased assumptions lead to wrong results. If this is the case, then you should make sure the communication is clear, straightforward and doesn’t leave room for wrong assumptions. When you feel this has already happened, it’s better to clear the air and make sure information is delivered more plainly. Encourage candid communication and you will see that the results will improve a lot.
  • Non-understanding: Some pieces of information are simply not received or don’t get processed. What you need to ensure is that the communication flow touches all the members of your team. You can do it by using a team communication tool that makes information always available and easily accessible.
  • Misinterpretation: Going back to wrong assumptions people make, this time not due to misunderstood information, but because they give it a wrong interpretation. In such a case, make sure your interlocutors have processed the disseminated information the right way by asking them questions and giving feedback.

You can always find ways to turn miscommunication into efficient communication as long as you pay attention to the right signals.

8 common writing errors that make you look unprofessional

In this infographic from Walkerstone, you can find some of the most common writing errors that people make on a daily basis. If you have been repeating these mistakes, here’s how to fix them.

Common writing errors infographic from Walkerstone

Let communication flow

Communication is very much like water – the faster the water flows, the more electricity it produces at the end of the line. We live in a world that is always connected and drains a lot of energy. Every minute, every day, we get constantly pinged by our peers and collaborators who want to get in touch with us. Right then and there.

In this avalanche of contact requests and ultimately of information exchange, the only way to be productive at work is to make your communication with others as efficient as possible. At the end of the day, the results matter more than the process itself. Following these simple rules on efficient communication and writing etiquette will help you get better results.

So, how were your chats and emails today? 😉

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