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Modes of communication in a busy world

Technology is wonderful -- it allows us to communicate with others in all sorts of different ways.However, sometimes the way we or others choose is not the most appropriate for the recipient or the m...

Technology is wonderful -- it allows us to communicate with
others in all sorts of different ways.

However, sometimes the way we or others choose is not the most
appropriate for the recipient or the message. We are all
incredibly busy, after all.

So here's my quick'n'dirty philosophy for how I communicate with
others in business, in descending order of use and ascending
order of priority or urgency. Please feel free to adapt or
ridicule it at your leisure...

1. Email
Used for transferring files before a face-to-face meeting. For
example, I want my client to see the latest additions to the
manual we're working on, or changes to a newsletter.

It's also great for non-urgent communication, as it allows the
recipient to get on with the work that is currently occupying
them without disturbing them. If I phone them, I break their
train of thought and interrupt their work. Or I get frustrated
because 'they are in a meeting'. It's a great way of allowing
them to attend to my email and its demands at a more suitable
and convenient time.

Using email is a great way of neither interrupting my recipient
nor getting into that horribly wasteful game of 'phone tag'.

Yes, there is the risk that my email gets lost in the dozens my
recipient might get in a day, but I figure that if our work is
important they will pay attention to it. If it's not important
to them, then either their own boss or client will help them
reprioritise when an important deadline is missed, or else I am
focusing more on my own needs than the needs of my recipient --
in which case I deserve to have my email ignored.

Of course, spam filtering software is not perfect and sometimes
emails genuinely don't get through, but in genuine business
relationships such instances are rare. There are exceptions, of
course -- one of my clients *never* gets my emailed invoices,
even when I send them back via 'reply' to an email they send me.
But she gets every other email I send. And yes, I *do* track
those errant emails via delivery and read receipts. Bizarre, huh?

If you find that you are having repeated problems with
undelivered emails and 'blacklisting', you may want to take
advantage of Ken Evoy's "Deliver My Mail" campaign. Details are

2. SMS
Similar to email, but slightly more intrusive (because many of
us find it hard to ignore our mobile phones, even if it is just
a txt message coming in). I don't want to interrupt my
recipient, but I do want them to be aware of an upcoming
requirement or request. Or I just want to wish them 'bon voyage'
without interrupting them from packing.

3. Phone call
Only used if I have an urgent need to resolve an issue.

I have found that even highly personal matters can be first
discussed using non-intrusive technology like email. I don't
have to go into detail, but I can let my recipient know that
there is something I would like to discuss when they have a free
moment. It gives them a chance to collect their thoughts before
we talk over the phone or, preferablyFind Article, in person.

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