2 Rules of Business Communications: Mind your “p”s and “q”s; Dot your “i”s and cross your “t”s

When running your own solo business, communication is at the foundation of building and maintaining client relationships and referral opportunities. Effective communication goes beyond being quick to respond; it demands a sense of social common sense and setting the right tone as well. You need to mind your “p”s and “q”s – and dot your “i”s and cross your “t”s, too.

“p”s and “q”s

Not too long ago, I wrote a post about why being nice is good for business. Unfortunately, because of the hurried, break-neck pace at which we do everything, a lot of us tend to make our replies short, sweet and sometimes abrupt to the point of seeming rude. You’ve gotten a few of those emails, right? I have, and it’s a complete turn off. There’s no excuse for  brevity void of manners. It literally takes just seconds to soften and sensitize an email or social media response with the polite additions of: “Please…”, “Thank you…”, “I’m sorry…”, “Good morning…”, “Have a wonderful day.”, or “Don’t hesitate to call me…” and so forth. And be attentive to your tone as well. Re-read what you’ve typed (after you’ve stepped away for a few minutes) and change your wording if anything can be construed as harsh or unnecessarily emotional or confrontational.

i’s and t’s

Whether you’re crafting a new message or responding to someone else’s, being as thorough and accurate as possible from the start saves everyone involved time and energy. It also makes you more credible and trustworthy. Check your facts; check your spelling and grammar. We all make mistakes, but the fewer the better. And if you do slip up on your “i”s and “t”s, you should darn well mind your “p”s and “q”s when you send your follow up message!

When communicating via email, letter, or social media, the little things can work for or against you. With attention to minding your “p”s and “q”s and dotting your “i”s and crossing your “t”s in all interactions, you’ll make more positive first impressions – and keep the good will flowing.

Your turn! Have you ever found yourself wishing you had a “do-over” for a rushed email or social media response? Has a business’s poor communications ever make you decide to do business with someone else instead?

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