A little communication courtesy yields big benefits

Hey –“

Who? Me?

We’re so used to scrolling through social media feeds and mass emails that we can overlook one of the most important principles of business communication – courtesy.

A pioneering communication book published back in the 1950s – Effective Public Relations – presented the original 7 Cs of Effective Communication: clear, concrete, concise, complete, correct, considerate and courteous.

Decades later these principles continue to be widely used by communication professionals. Why? Because they are timelessly helpful in helping our audiences understand the messages we communicate.

Applying these principles to our oral and written communications for business and work builds respect and rapport and strengthens our relationships.

Yet one of these important Cs – courtesy – seems to be eroding within our environment of constant communication.

Being respectful, thoughtful and appreciative is just as important today as it was decades ago. So, for both message senders and receivers, here are three simple, powerful suggestions related to common missed courtesies.

Names are important. There’s nothing like a generic “hey” greeting to make people feel unimportant.

Using their name in a message conveys to the other person they are important to us. In turn, the receiver feels valued and is more likely to respond positively to our message.

So know how to pronounce and to spell the names of the individuals with whom you communicate. In person or for video calls, greet others by their name. For emails and other electronic communications, open with the individual’s name – spelled correctly.

Acknowledge the message. This tip is for message receivers. With scrolling being so pervasive, we sometimes forget to respond courteously to calls and emails directed specifically to us. But it’s important to show respect for other people’s time by responding promptly to messages so the sender isn’t left waiting and wondering: did they receive it? Or not? Should I follow up? Or not?

Even if you’re still contemplating the content of the message, take a few seconds to let the sender know that you received the message and will be in touch soon with a response. Simply acknowledging that we’ve heard the other person shows consideration.

Say thanks. Many of us are good at complaining but not so good at expressing gratitude. Yet conveying appreciation triggers reciprocity ­– the impulse to give something back when we receive something. 

By simply saying thank you when a client or colleague does something helpful, typically they’ll want to reciprocate this gesture of appreciation.

When we give thanks, we receive more in return. We get better results. And we build better relationships.

So say thanks. Often.

Thank you, dear reader, for reading this. And let’s all practise courteous communications in 2022!

Photo by Anthony DeRosa on Pexels.com

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