How to Best Use Workplace Technologies: Tips for New Professionals, Part 2
5/25/2010Today’s workplace is increasingly dependent on mobile phones, e-mail, text messaging, and video conferencing to get the job done. Too often these technologies are used by new professionals under the assumption that one is just as good as the other. In Part 1 of this “how to,” we discussed the need to fully appreciate the advantages and disadvantages of popular communication devices in the workplace.
When the best choice is unavailable.
In most circumstances, a telephone call is more effective than a text message, e-mail or voice message when addressing an urgent, complex situation. However, the average workday is unpredictable. Circumstances may interfere and require that you e-mail, text or leave a voicemail in a critical situation. Here are some tips to consider when using these technologies for complex communications:
- State who you are and how you can be contacted. Don’t assume that the other person knows it’s you and has your contact information programmed into his or her phone.
- State your purpose. The receiver should be told exactly what you need and why (i.e., information to perform a task, permission to relay a message, a signature to approve a payment, etc.). Communication over text messaging can be quite brief; however, in situations that require immediate action, your message cannot be so short that critical information is left out.
- Provide essential details. The receiver of your message needs to know what you are dealing with. But don’t waste precious time and run the chance of confusion by relating every intricate detail of the situation. Address one issue at a time in concise exchanges.
- Avoid providing information that shouldn’t be shared with others. Instant messages, e-mail, and voice mail can be saved, copied, and distributed. If this happens to your message about an urgent, complex situation, it could mean trouble for you and your company. Use good judgment in selecting what you say when unintended others might be listening or reading.
- Use correct grammar and punctuation; avoid abbreviations. It is important to make your message as clear as possible. Writing in complete sentences with correct punctuation and minimal use of abbreviations helps ensure that the other person will understand you.
- If your situation doesn’t require an immediate response, arrange a future meeting using a more suitable technology. Request a telephone call or a face-to-face meeting. Let the other person know that you urgently need to speak with them. Specify when and how the conversation needs to take place, and how the other person should respond.
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