Guest AuthorShital Kakkar Mehra

Wait …Don’t Click “Send”

By | Shital Kakkar Mehra | Executive Presence Coach for CEOs I Business Communication Expert I Best-selling Author I Co-Founder Katalyst, NGO

With email emerging as the most popular business communication tool of the 21st century, it is important for senior professionals to utilize it appropriately as it may enhance / detract from the business image. On occasion, email misunderstandings can seriously hamper relationships with clients and prospects. In several businesses, email is the only form of communication and therefore, a few extra moments spent on emails can save you from future embarrassment and loss of potential business.

Hierarchy of Business Communication:  The golden rule of business communication is: first the face-to-face meeting, then the phone call and lastly the email. When sending and receiving emails ask “Would a meeting / phone call facilitate this discussion better?”

For best impact, hold a meeting where you benefit from the vocal, verbal and the non-verbal components of communication. The next option is the phone call, where the visual gets compromised but the vocal component and the element of live exchange remain. Next in the hierarchy is voice mail, which may not boast of the spontaneity of live exchange but the tone of your verbal message communicates effectively. Lastly, send an email, where the recipient can neither see nor hear you and is forced to form an opinion based on the tone of your text, which can often lead to misunderstandings.  An email is not a substitute for a face-to-face meeting. A prime example is corporate layoffs via email which leave a bad taste versus face-to-face meetings which factor in the importance of the human interaction. Do not engage in a discussion via email – it is not a chat room!

Consider Confidentiality: Email isn’t the most secure method of communication. In fact, experts say it is as safe as a snail mail postcard! As a rule, never reprimand or fire anybody via email, it is best done in person.  Avoid sensitive information that could be potentially damaging to someone’s career/ reputation as your recipient may either forward it or print a copy of it for future reference. Sending or forwarding a politically incorrect email can lead to you/ your company facing legal penalties, as emails belong to the company and are not meant to offer you privacy. Additionally, your name is on it and everything in it will be naturally attributed to you. A confidential email message is not permanent and can go around the globe with the simple click of a button. So watch your words, as they may come back to haunt you. When you receive an email ask yourself “Is there anything that maybe confidential? “ If yes, don’t reply immediately.

As a thumb rule, when in doubt, always remember, email is not a substitute for a meeting or the phone; it is just a quicker way of writing letters.

Republished with permission and originally published at Shital Kakkar Mehra’s LinkedIn

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