Communication is a field which can often be difficult to master. However, if done successfully can assist in better relationships both in personal and professional situations. Although communicating with others is something we do second nature, there are many rules of engagement which can further business relations and overall professional image.
Digital communication is rapidly overtaking one to one interaction meaning that we need to be increasingly aware of how we come across to avoid misunderstanding and even misperception. Communication which is consistent, efficient and neutrally toned can increase levels of professionalism and add to credibility.
Although in agribusiness our focus is often not on tasks in the office, it is important to embrace the increasing access to a mobile work set up. Resulting in little excuse to not be on top of what used to be classed as work, which would need to be attended to later or when at home. The ability to answer enquiries directly and quickly is enormously important to the effectiveness of your overall service or trade. By promptly replying (anywhere within 24 hours) it can benefit both sides of the conversation, meaning the aim or need is fast tracked, satisfying both parties.
The unofficial etiquette associated with communication which is not face to face including both email and voicemail can vary but is important to keep in mind when dealing with those under time pressures or in other sectors. When communicating behind a screen, it is often helpful to remain toneless in order to avoid personal humour or quirks overriding and directing your conversation to a point where the other half is left confused, offended or disappointed.
Delay in communication or replies can often occur due to a variety of reasons however, can frustrate those needing information or direction quickly. If it is not possible to have others reply on your behalf an auto reply is a handy function which can avoid the feeling of being left hanging. This can also be used to share upcoming dates you may be unavailable, providing timeframes and alternative contacts for planning needs.
After years of experience within agribusiness we have found face to face communication is still important. Therefore picking up the phone or stopping in for a meeting can enforce the trust between two parties, strengthening business relationships.
Here is my top five tips for successful non face to face communication:
- Be clear, consistent and concise.
- Try to reply within all points of contact within 24 hours
- Try to remain neutral when emailing.
- An auto reply is handy when out of the office
- Try to maintain some face to face communication when possible.
Georgie Cox is coming to the end of her studies at University in Auckland, where she is completing a Communications degree, majoring in Advertising. Georgie comes from a sheep and beef background in the Wairarapa.