Effective Communication with Technology
In our digital age, we often communicate with others via technology like email or text instead of face-to-face. 81% of Americans use text as their primary communication method, according to research from The Local Project.
While these forms of communication are convenient, they make difficult conversations more challenging. You can’t see the other person’s facial expressions or body language, so it’s easy to misread their tone or intent. Clear communication with your team is needed to get things done as a leader. While many ways to communicate with employees, email and text are two of the easiest methods. This is especially true when working with a remote workforce. The trick is providing enough context to deliver the right message.
Effective communication includes information sharing, brainstorming, and other teamwork activities. One way to ensure all group members are on the same page is to use technologies that allow you to communicate regularly, no matter where your team is. Electronic tools are a great way to keep your team informed.
Regular email and text communication provide updates about:
- current events
- upcoming projects
- important news and
- company culture.
It’s also essential to highlight successes, recognize contributions, and explain the corporate strategy.
But just because email and text are helpful, it doesn’t mean they’re always easy to use. They can be pretty challenging – especially when you’re trying to communicate with multiple people. You must follow best practices to communicate effectively via email and text. This includes providing clear and concise information. You also want to stay on top of your communication efforts. Finally, you want to follow the top tips on handling complex conversations using email or text.
Questions to ask Regarding Written Communication:
When used correctly, email and text can help leaders convey needed information without delays. However, when misused, they can cause confusion and frustration. To ensure that your organization is using these tools correctly, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does your organization have a clear policy on when and how email and text messaging should be used?
- Are your employees trained on the proper use of reply all?
- Are you using bullet points or numbered lists to make your communication easy to read and understand?
- What is the tone of your team’s emails?
- Are you and your employees being respectful and professional in a non-emotional manner?
- Did you proofread your communication before sending it?
- Do you have an open communication policy?
Giving clear directions on sharing information using email and text is essential to getting the most out of these tools.
When technology is your best resource, and you’re planning to have a difficult conversation with someone via email or text, you want to follow best practices to make it go smoothly.
First, be clear and direct in your communication. It’s essential to think through what you’re going to say to avoid confusion. Make goals, strategies, and feedback easy to understand and act upon. Second, be aware of your tone. Again, since the other person can’t see your reactions, it’s easy to misinterpret the tone intended. So, try to use a neutral or positive tone in your messages. It’s important to remember that the people you communicate with are human beings just like you. They deserve to be treated with the same respect you would want to be shown to you.
Remember, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. And encourage employees to ask for help or training to use email and text the best way.
Texts Made Clear
Texts are important in today’s world. They are used to communicate, express emotions, and share ideas. But texts can also create misunderstandings or be misinterpreted if not used clearly.
Texts should be used for quick and simple questions or tasks, such as:
- Sending a reminder about an upcoming meeting
- Asking someone for their opinion on a topic you are writing about
- Asking someone if they can do something for you
Don’t overburden people with long texts; keep them to a minimum to avoid distractions and disruptions.
Emails Made Clear
Employees receive more than 100 emails per workday. While this is a useful tool to communicate important information, you must follow best practice guidelines to ensure your emails are read and acted upon.
Before you send an email, make sure it is necessary. If the topic requires discussion, it’s better to talk by phone or instant message. This should be done in person if you need to relay bad news. Email is best used if you need to relay reports or put something on an employee’s radar that doesn’t need immediate action or many follow-ups. While emails can include more information than texts, you still want to keep communication clear and concise. Get to the point while providing all pertinent information.
Pay attention to the subject line if you want someone else to notice your email. Provide a subject that makes clear what information you are sending. As with the message, the subject should be clear and concise, so the person knows what’s expected of them. Just like with texts, you want to pay attention to the tone of your message. Keep your emails polite. Think about how you would react to the email if you were reading it without body language and facial cues.
Remember that emails are business communications, so you want to avoid obvious grammar, spelling, and punctuation issues. Make sure you proofread emails before clicking send. Also, remember that emails aren’t secure, so avoid using personal information you wouldn’t want to be shared.
When Human Interaction is Necessary
Technology is a powerful tool, but it cannot replace human interaction. There are many cases where we can see that technology is not the best communication method.
For example, when we need to apologize or show empathy to someone, the best way to do this is by picking up the phone and talking in person. We should not use technology for these purposes because it’s impersonal, and people may feel like they are being ignored. Another example of a time when we should not use technology is when we need to brainstorm ideas with a colleague. Technology can be distracting and limit our creativity when thinking of new ideas or solutions – which limits our ability to come up with new ideas in general.
Other Tools to Communicate
Technological advances have created many tools to keep in touch with employees, in-house or remote. These tools come in many forms and have specific uses that meet your needs.
- Instant messages
- Project management tools
- Video conferencing
Even social media sites are helpful for electronic sharing. Choose the right tool for your needs based on the importance and reduction of unnecessary disruptions.
Clear Guidelines Help Your Team Work Together
Leaders need to be aware of the potential for miscommunication when communicating with their team members via email or text. They can avoid this by setting clear guidelines and using respectful and informative language. When in doubt, it is always best to err on the side of caution and to err on the side of respect.
If you or your employees are struggling with how they communicate, there are many opportunities to provide training and other resources. Contact us to learn about the tools available to streamline your training and communication efforts.
Written by: Michelle Smith Schmidt, Marketing Manager @HR Service, Inc