Attend any management meeting or business workshop and one thing that will keep coming up is the topic of communication skills.

Modern technology somehow made it easy for people to correspond and has numbed the true meaning of communication. Corresponding is not communicating.

In this article, let’s examine various types of communication (via email) that you may find yourself doing and how to excel at it using one or two key differentiators.

Communicating upward: When you are communicating upward, meaning to your boss, you have to be proactive. Do not just provide information about a situation but provide solutions and alternatives that you think might work. This way, you are making it easier for them to either take one of the options you suggest OR to tweak your ideas. This will also showcase that you are ready for next level because you stretch yourself.

Communicating downward: When communicating with your subordinates – your first and foremost duty is to recognize that they do NOT have the same experience and exposure to things that may be ‘matter of fact’ for you. In this case, onus lies on you to provide them with detailed guidance (step by step, where possible). You have to muster all the patience you can to explain everything in terms of what is needed, expectations and where they can find help to self-educate themselves. This time in coaching will pay off greatly as your team will be equipped with talent, thanks to your coaching style, to take on routine tasks while you go out and work on strategic priorities.

Communicating sideways: When you communicate with your peer group or whole team in general, you have to be succinct, brief and to the point. Remember, when communicating with peer – you all are at a level where you can understand each other – you speak the same lingo. When your messages are brief it gets the most attention because they are as busy as you are. Writing long emails to peers’ is bad same as writing brief emails without guidance to the subordinates.

Communicating with outside parties: When communicating with the client or anyone outside the company, remember that you are representing your company. If you say something – it is your company saying it. Keeping that in mind – read, re-read and have a peer or someone above you read the email, especially when you are giving more than minor advice, opinion, suggestion to the outside party. More thorough your responses and more scrutinised internally – the more respect they get from the client. Also, always marry the other aspects of the client that you know about with any question they ask (where it is relevant), this way, client knows that you are thinking about them and that you are not a robot but a human being that understands their business.

There you have it. All the communication knowledge distilled into one single page. You are welcome!!

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