Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Mastering Communications

Seems like a few folks are having trouble knowing what is - and isn't - appropriate when it comes to electronic communication these days, doesn't it?

Here are some helpful hints I received from Phil Cooke, a Burbank TV producer and media consultant. He has a new book out, "Jolt! Get the Jump on a World That’s Constantly Changing.” [The comments in brackets are mine.]

Never say anything in an email that you wouldn’t want known publicly. [I'd add Twitter, Facebook, and other communication media here, obviously.] Once you hit the “send” button, you’ve lost control and you never know who will see it. A single inappropriate email can haunt you for years to come. So never criticize anyone – especially clients, customers, or associates through email. In person is always best method for serious conversations.

Copy the right people – especially when communicating to clients or on business. Cc’ing shows clients you are working as a team. Also, people can’t do an "end run" on an issue when they see others have already read it. Copying the right people keeps everyone in the loop and updated – plus, saves having to send multiple messages.

Don’t over email. Make sure you actually need to respond so you don’t clutter up your mailboxes with unnecessary fluff. And whatever you do, please don’t forward all those cute stories, inspirational moments, or jokes. They waste enormous time, distract us, and bog down our day.

Be very clear, concise, and to the point. [One source of mine told me he keeps his emails to three sentences.] That’s what I love about email. You don’t have to endure the pleasantries of phone conversation: “How’s the family?” “How’s business?” Just get to the point and move on.

Don't check your email first thing in the morning. When you first sit down at your desk, do the most important thing you have to do that day. Get it out of the way, or at least get it started. THEN, check your email. Your productivity will shoot up. [I wish I could do this, but I must make sure one of my East Coast editors or contacts isn't trying to reach me on deadline first thing in the a.m.]

When it comes to mobile devices, learn to put them down. Remember how annoyed you get at the store with the clerk makes you stand there waiting while she talks to someone on the phone? That's the way others feel when you're constantly checking your mobile device. [Why don't more people get this?] In my opinion, the most valuable commodity of the 21st century will be “undivided attention.” Want to share an incredible gift with a loved one, business associate, co-worker or friend? Give them your undivided attention. Trust me – in today’s distracted culture, it will transform your relationships.


  1. Amen! Especially the comment about undivided attention.

  2. Yes, I liked that too Kim. It's hard to imagine how valuable that's going to be in the future, I think.