Work has changed. In this fast-paced digital world, you need new skills, tools, and tactics to keep up with job growth and advances in communication technology. You’ll stand out as an employee who communicates effectively in today’s marketplace, which gives you a huge advantage in meeting your career goals. Check out our tips below to make sure you have good digital manners.
Tip #1: Stick to Communication Basics
Doing business primarily online has resulted in new ways to communicate with others. Unfortunately, this can mean there are also new ways for messages to get lost in translation or misunderstood. However, good communication basics are the same no matter what platform you are using:
- Using Active Listening techniques and taking time to read comprehensively is more critical than ever. Give yourself a chance to pause before you respond. One active listening technique that works is to ask a question first. “Can you tell me a little bit more about that?” You can also summarize what you heard back to the speaker.
- Re-read and review before you hit send on that text or email. Use tools like spellcheck and Grammarly to help you weed out misspellings and mistakes.
- Courtesy will aid your professional image even in short communications like a text. Include a greeting, please, and thank you where you can.
Tip #2 Choose and Use the Right Channel
Different digital channels are suitable for different business uses. Importantly-use the channels your team uses. If everyone handles project details in the project management software, don’t put details dealing with a current project in an email. Put that information in the project management software. Additional guidelines to note:
Email is better than text for long explanations, complex discussions, or ongoing tasks. However, be aware that you might not get as immediate a response. Pay attention to your supervisor’s and co-worker’s expectations regarding email response time. It is not productive to pounce every time your email notification dings, but you may want to make sure you regularly respond throughout the day. Responding first thing in the morning, before lunch, and before the end of the day can be a good email routine. Finally, check the header before hitting send to see if you need to reply or reply all. We have all heard reply all horror stories, but sometimes it is appropriate.
Text or messaging apps like Slack are good for quick “for your information” info. Use these channels to let someone know you are on your way to a meeting or sent them the document they need. Treat these communication channels like a quick conversation. Don’t include important information that you need regular access to – save that for an email attachment.
Virtual Meetings are common these days. Sometimes getting everyone “together in a room” is the best way to solve a problem, launch a new project or conduct an interview. Set up and check your connection and camera before the meeting starts. It is also good to keep yourself on mute unless you are speaking, so background noise doesn’t distract everyone. You probably want to avoid the private chat function too. Using this function makes it look like you are not paying attention to the speaker. Finally, it is an internet meme for a reason – ask yourself, “Could this meeting be an email” before you organize one.
Phone Calls are still an effective way to resolve issues, schedule meetings quickly, or check in with a co-worker or direct report to see if they need support. If you find yourself writing a long email to explain something, consider taking the time to speak over the phone. You can follow up your call with an email with action steps and notes if needed. Put yourself in the recipient’s shoes, and consider sending them a “do you have time for a call” message to ensure they have time for a phone call.
Now more than ever, digital communication has become a vital part of our lives, especially in the business world. It’s never too late to update your skills and use good digital manners. Have questions? We can help you improve your digital communications skills so you’ll have a headstart in the job market. Check out our available opportunities or give us a call today to find your next great job – 760-862-1818