Monday, October 13, 2014

7 Ways of Effectively Getting the Point Across

Phone calls and emails have become important ways of communication in the digital age that we live in. This means that a lot of times, we need to call or email people we either do not know very well, or do not know at all. This isn't as easy as it would be addressing a known colleague, client or friend, and many times, we fail to get our point across effectively; which in turn means that we may fail to get the results we were hoping to get.
I thought I'd share some of the tips that I've come across or that others have given me over the years, in the hope that they may help you too!

1) Effective introduction. Whether this is a subject line for an email, or the first sentence or two in a phone call, make sure that it is clear and captivating (not in the Lord of the Rings sense, but in the sense that it doesn't make the other person doze off). You don't want to lose your potential audience even before you start. So, if you're calling to find out whether someone is attending an event at your workplace, be sure to state your name, the place you're calling from, and what you want. For example, "Hi, this is Zoe from (insert organisation name), calling about the meet-and-greet at (reinsert organisation name)." If it's an email, it'd be appropriate to have a subject line that had the name of the event and it's date. You catch my drift.

2) Be concise. When sending an email, don't write a whole story. Get to the point quickly and clearly, and avoid repeating yourself too much. If you bore your audience, they'll be less inclined to listen to what you're trying to say. The same goes with phone calls; try to get to the point as quickly as you can. If the other person draws you into conversation, fine. But do not try to impose yourself on others' time, especially if you're calling during business hours. Most everyone has something else that they'd rather be doing.

3) Use the person's name. You'll have to judge for yourself whether to address the person you're calling/emailing by their first name or by a title such as Ms. or Dr., but make sure you use their name well. People often like the sound of their own name, and if you use it at the beginning, middle and end of a conversation, they'll feel special and slightly more inclined to hear what you have to say. Of course, make sure you don't overdo it, especially so if the conversation is short. On another note, on a phone call, if you are unsure about pronunciation, ask! It's better to apologize for mispronouncing and ask them to correct you rather than butchering their name the whole conversation through.

4) Go slow. On a phone call, be sure to talk at a slower pace than you normally would. Keep in mind that sometimes phones aren't all too clear, there may be background noise, and the person may just not be used to the way you talk. Rather than rush through and have to repeat yourself all over again, which has happened to me more times than I can remember, it's better to pace yourself from the beginning.

5) Grammar! Be it a phone call or an email, make sure you're being grammatically correct in whatever language you'll be using. (Almost) nothing irks people more than a professional email with misplaced full stops and apostrophes, and I know I'm one of them. Plus, bad grammar and language usage can give a terrible first impression, which is not helpful if you're hoping to deal with the person again.

6) Be situation appropriate. The tone of your email and your phone call should reflect your position, the position of the other person, what you're getting in touch about and how well the two of you know each other. You'd hardly (I hope) send an email to a CEO with 'lol' and smiley faces littered throughout (unless they were related to you I guess).

7) Be polite. Better to err on the side of caution than offend someone. Use please, sorry and thank you as necessary, and give the other person the respect they're due, no matter who they are.

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1 comment:

TW said...

Well said, and agree totally! It's just that at times the gentler aspects of communication become difficult when the other person is being a "rat" if you know what I mean!!!!

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