And just like that, we’ve gone from exchanging pleasantries in an actual office to pinging messages back and forth online. It’s fast and efficient, but sometimes things get lost in translation.
In trying to get straight to the point, we may say things in a slightly rude way. So it‘s more important than ever to take care with what we write and not sacrifice politeness for directness.
Let‘s look at a few ways we can keep things cordial on Slack, Teams or email and make the working day a little more pleasant for everyone.
Always start off with a ‘Hi’
Or ‘Hi there‘, ‘Hey‘, ‘Hello‘. This simple greeting immediately softens the tone of the conversation and allows you to get down to business gently.
A big no-no is launching straight into things with someone‘s name – ‘Sarah, when you have time…‘, is too blunt. A simple ‘Hi Sarah‘ will make the online atmosphere less strained and formal.
While we know we‘re all at home, working away on our laptops – it‘s important to remember that people aren‘t always immediately available.
They could be on a call, focusing on a particular task or simply taking a break. So if you reach out to a coworker, try not to hit them with this:
‘Hi James, you free?‘
‘Are you there?‘
Even if something is really urgent, just wait until they get back to you. Whether on chat, email or in the workplace, patience is a key virtue – hounding people will only heighten stress levels. Patience brings calm.
Keep things simple
A lot of people are on edge these days. It‘s hard to let all the news soak in and juggle the different types of work. That‘s why it‘s better to ease into the business talk.
Explain what you‘re looking for clearly in just a few sentences. And mention you can jump on a call whenever suits if you need to clarify things.
Bombarding people with paragraphs of information is extremely off-putting. If you can‘t get your message across in a handful of sentences, pick up the phone and explain it verbally.
Mind the language
We sometimes tend to get lost in corporate lingo and overcomplicate things. A simple chat becomes a swamp of ‘align‘, ‘leverage‘ and ‘touchpoints‘.
Just be yourself and talk like you normally would. ‘Let‘s align‘ can become ‘Let‘s work together on this‘. If you‘re not sure how to phrase a sentence, just think ‘How would I say this to a friend or family member?‘
Signing off an email with ‘Knd Rgrds‘ just looks lazy – nobody is too busy for vowels. Instead, why not use a sign-off that acknowledges the situation we‘re in like ‘Stay safe‘ or ‘Hope you‘re hanging in there‘.
Go easy on the exclamation points
When used correctly, exclamation points convey enthusiasm. However, if they‘re at the end of a blunt message, it can be quite rude. For example, ‘The files need to be sent tomorrow!‘ – this adds an unnecessary element of stress and urgency.
And if you‘re going to use an exclamation point, just use one. Otherwise it looks like you‘re in a panic and yelling something!!!!!