By Linda Potter

There’s a time and a place for every type of communication at work – from texting to email and phone call to face to face. Linda Potter, Architectural Sales Representative at Watkins Concrete Block & Reimers Kaufman, has extensive experience working with builders, and understands how critical effective communication is in the workplace. If you’re left questioning how to handle a certain method, keep Linda’s tried and true pieces of advice in mind.

Our phones grace us with technology that allows for speedy responses – a major benefit when working in a fast-paced environment. Texts can be used for quickly communicating simple tasks or confirming questions without having to wait around. If the exchange ends up being more than a few messages back and forth, just pick up the phone and chat! Remember to stick to words only in texts – no emoticons – and leave emotions out of it to avoid misinterpretations. Obviously, when it comes to the workplace, ensure that you are keeping conversations professional, even if this type of communication seems lax and casual. However, proper grammar and punctuation are not entirely necessary when using this method to quickly go back and forth with your coworkers.

This form of communication comes in handy, as it provides documentation for multiple conversations. When emailing, remember to stick to the facts and keep it simple. Like text messages, stick to words only and leave emotion out of it. When in doubt, write less and get to the point, while professionally expressing your questions and comments. As we like to say at our workplace: Point, don’t paint. Unlike texting, pay extra attention to your vocabulary and grammar. Don’t forget to utilize your handy tool – SPELL CHECK!

Phone Calls
When in doubt, pick up the phone. Even if you think clear direction was provided via email, everyone interprets information differently. If there appears to be confusion within emails, get on the phone and talk it through. It’s easier than going back and forth via email. If there is any conflict, hurt feelings, disappointment, frustration, anger, or other emotions – DO NOT TEXT OR EMAIL! Pick up the phone or go see the person face to face. You can’t hide behind a computer screen or phone when it comes to confrontation. It only allows more room for misunderstanding because tone of voice is not heard through a text. It can be unclear if something was said in a joking manner or not and sincerity is not easily picked up on. It’s important to allow the other person to hear you in difficult situations.

Face to Face
It’s easy to hide behind all the advances in technology and not see people face to face. But this is where real relationships are built – looking someone in the eye. The words you say are equally as important as your body language and tone of voice. Don’t underestimate the power of face to face communication. The more you practice this skill at work, the better results you will have.

And the most important rule to remember when communicating using any of these methods is to remain respectful. Even if you disagree, you can do so with respect and with the intent to understand the other person.