SMS language is unwittingly infiltrating your business writing – Don’t let it put your business reputation at risk
Most professionals are being caught out by SMS language, poor spelling and grammar
Smart phones and tablets are everywhere. They allow professionals to communicate from anywhere at any time. This is great for quicker responses and more efficient communications. But there’s a trap that most employees fall for when replying to emails from their smart phones.
Quicker responses are not always a good thing, it could harm your reputation. Employees using their smart phones to respond to business related emails using the same short, SMS language they use on text messages.
You might think using words like, gr8, lol or brb is appropriate but when you’re sending an email to the head of any business, take my word for it, it’s not.
This is not only unprofessional – it also holds a potential danger for misunderstandings on legal agreements or contracts. Your business is literally being put at risk because of poorly formulated communications to your colleagues, clients and potential investors.
Never neglect your communication etiquette
In business there’s no room for mistakes. That’s why it’s important to have a solid communication plan in place that clearly outlines your business writing and email communication etiquette.
This plan should dictate the type of language your employees use, the tone and pace of the email and most importantly that type of language to avoid when communicating with other professionals.
Here’s a three key considerations for your business writing and communications plan:
- Use spelling and grammar checkers before clicking send or print
- No sms language in letters and communications
- Avoid slang in all communications
- Use short sentences, get to the point and always be polite
There’s a fine line between being courteous and being short
When you’re writing a business letter, email or even a business proposal, you need to consider the person reading the communication. It’s easy to misinterpret something written text.
For example if someone reminds you about a meeting and you respond, “Huh? What meeting?” even though you may have meant it in a jovial manner, it could be misread as a rude statement.
To avoid this situation, don’t use slang in your business communication and make sure that your employees do too.
Internal communication is just as important as external communication
It’s essential that everyone in your business has a clear understand for your business processes and goals. That’s why internal communication is just as important as external information. Your employees need to buy into your vision, mission and long-term goals.
It’s your responsibility to communicate this to your employees so that they know you expect from them. You need to give them reminders about how you want the business to operate. Regular, well-written communications are a great way to keep your people inspired, motivated and ready to support you.
It could go a long way to increase productivity bring in more business and elevate your business reputation in the rest of the market.
Don’t forget, by keeping your people inspired, they will be fully committed to helping you improve your company’s reach.
Your employees are an extension of your business and your brand
Your employees have family, friends and connections to other people in your industry. Whether they work in the mail room or in customer services, they are constantly speaking about your business. A well defined internal communications plan and writing outline can go a long way in ensuring that you employees speak about your business in a positive way.
Every piece of communication including:
- Business letters
- Congratulations emails
- Employment contracts
- Induction presentations
- New product information sheets
- Customer service scripts
These are just some of the written documents that can shape the way your employees view you and your business. Your employees want to know that you appreciate them. A well-written thank you letter for a job well done can go a long way.
When you’re writing your induction presentation, you need to make sure that you excite your new employees coming into the business. You should highlight growth opportunities and explain the way the business functions.
There’s no room for confusion here. You want them to know the rules, policies procedures, so prepare well drafted presentations and internal communications.
A good writing plan can elevate trust and improve your leadership skills
In business, your employees need strong leadership. Respect is earned and that’s why you need to make sure that you lead your team by example. Your writing and the writing produced by your management team needs to set a high standard that junior employees need to look up to.
You and your management team must have the skills to spot the errors and drive the quality control processes. Sometimes this means you need have difficult conversations with employees that don’t adhere to the writing rules of your company.
Nobody likes to think about disciplinary processes but at some point, every business needs to discipline an employee. It’s important to record everything in writing. Again when you do this, you need to avoid all ambiguity, write clearly so that the employee understands the offense and the corrective action that’s being taken.
With no plan in place, this process could fall flat.
Remember, encouraging good writing in business can influence positivity at all levels. It improves discipline, upgrades your service delivery and elevates your reputation.