E-mail has become the preferred mode of business communication. That’s good and bad.
It’s good because it’s fast, cheap and often spares you from innocuous chit-chat: “Hi, how ya doing? How’s the wife and kids?”
E-mail is an especially poor method of communication when it’s used to avoid making voice contact—for example, when the sender has bad news to convey. A bad-news e-mail has a weightier impact than a bad-news phone call in which the caller at least can express (or feign) sympathy. So don’t substitute e-mail when you know the telephone would be more appropriate.
In addition, e-mail seems to evoke bad habits. Some to be avoided:
Don’t send jokes, don’t e-mail colleagues who sit nearby, don’t send an e-mail thanking someone for his or her e-mail and don’t send a voice mail confirming receipt of an e-mail.
Fess Up to Tardiness
If you’re gong to be late delivering an order or finishing a project, say so right away. The sooner the better.
Send the customer or client a cordial acknowledgement of the delay, the reason for the missed deadline and a best estimate of when delivery will be made.
As much as people hate delays, they hate being ignored even more. But their tolerance grows when a reason for the delay is given.
Slow the Turnover Rate
When a skilled employee quits for another job, it’s usually not just for more money—unless the pay difference is significant. Often the reason is lack of opportunity or poor treatment by the company.
What is a high turnover rate signaling? It usually indicates something’s wrong with your corporate environment. It may be lack of training for new opportunities or it might be because of bad managers—or it could be both.
Ignore those signals at your own risk.
Say It Again and Again—and Maybe Even Once More After That
New ideas are not always easy to grasp (even by a receptive audience) because they require a change in thinking—and that’s hard.
So what’s the best way to get a new message across to a group?
In one word: repetition.
But repeat your message in different ways. Explain it in writing, then explain it orally, graphically and with examples. Finally ask people in the group to feed it back to you in their own words so you can listen for misunderstandings, and when you address the errors, the audience gets yet another opportunity to hear it again.
|An Invitation |
The JofA publishes a monthly collection of Golden Business Ideas and invites readers to contribute their favorites (for attribution, if you like).
Send your ideas to Senior Editor Stanley Zarowin via either e-mail ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) or regular mail at the Journal of Accountancy , Harborside Financial Center, 201 Plaza Three, Jersey City, NJ 07311-3881.