Excellent written and verbal communication is a crucial skill in any professional role, especially consulting; and is important in-person and virtually via technology. Here are five tips for better professional information sharing.
1. Speak loudly and clearly, especially on the phone – Few things are more frustrating to a listener on a call than needing to strain to determine what is being said on the phone. If you are prone to speaking softly or if you have a deep voice, muster the energy and speak from the diaphragm – this is a “no mumbling” zone! Also, smiling even when talking on the phone will carry an energy to your listening audience resulting in a more positive experience for all.
2. Leaving a voicemail – Always say your name and company you are with at the beginning and end of your voicemail, spelling out your last name if it is not obvious. Speak slowly, you’ve got at least 1 minute for your message length. When leaving a callback phone number say it once, then repeat it to ensure the number is captured accurately by the listener.
3. Body language when presenting to a group – Using physical gestures when speaking with someone is a great way to draw your listeners into what you’re saying and can be a positive device for demonstrating your passion on a topic. However, there is a balance and it can be easy to cross an invisible line where your hands are flying all over the place and working as a distraction against you and the important message you’re conveying. When presenting to a large audience, it’s a good idea to keep your hands in an imaginary box that is bounded by your beltline on the bottom end, mid-chest on the upper end and only slightly wider than the width of your body. Extending beyond these boundaries should only be done sparingly and with the intent to really emphasize a key point through exaggerated movement.
Also, no hair flipping, jewelry fiddling, or gum chewing allowed.
4. Use headers and footers – Every single document you create and share with anybody should always contain a header showing the name of your firm and the topic of the document. In the footer, you may choose to include things like the document version, data of creation or current date. The bottom line is you’re put effort into creating this document, be proud of it by going the extra mile. A great aid to ensuring this happens is to keep a ready-made templates for your firm and the client projects you are working available in a templates folder for quick reference.
5. Choose your words carefully – The words you use are a direct reflection on the firm you represent and you. Especially in today’s world with access to grammar correction tools, there is almost no excuse for using incorrect words. If you know you’re prone to misusing a word, make a conscious effort to always double check your work.
Common examples include:
- Two, to, and too
- Your and you’re
- Affect and effect
- Industry terminology such as HIPAA (one ‘P’; two ‘A’s)