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WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT


EMAIL, TEXT, TEAMS, PHONE—GETTING THE MESSAGE ACROSS


The pandemic has made clear the need for better commu- nication systems and policies. Do we text, email, pick up the phone?


Texting is becoming more popular and used more often in business all the time, in part because it gets a reaction. About 75 percent of people have zero unread texts at a given time, while 17 percent could say the same for email, according to the a report from Zipwhip, a consumer texting service.


For now, many companies are using a hybrid approach, with texting for things that are immediate and quickly concluded, video or project management channels such as Slack and Teams for things that require discussion and interaction, and email for more formal and long-term communication.


Leigh Thompson, a professor of management and organizations at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and author Negotiating the Sweet Spot: The Art of Leaving Nothing on the Table, has a three- part formula for clear, engaging e-communication, excerpted in KelloggInsight and outlined here by her permission.


She says she thinks of e-communication tones like cholesterol: There are good kinds and bad, and you want a balance. She has clients underline positive-tone phrases like “Thank you so much” and negative ones, such as “I’m concerned,” then look for a two-to-one ratio of positive to negative. People can come off as overly negative in e-communication without being aware of it.


Second, take a look at pronouns. How many times do you use “I” and “me” as opposed to “you” and “us”? People can tend to use first-person singular too often, inadvertently giving an impression of egoism.


Then circle your verbs. “These reflect task engagement,” she says. Are you seeing words like “work,” “talk,” “align”?


In addition, she says, don’t start off a message with a negative—it sets a tone that’s hard to undo.


Finally, the Society for Human Resource Management as well as other experts counsel: Never deliver big, bad news by e-communication; avoid delivering big, good news or big news of any kind that way if possible. While face-to-face is hard to arrange, go for the phone—it still works.


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info@RCareInc.com


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