17 ene. 2010

Smart communications (3) … during telephone/video conferences

Following the recomendations I published in previous posts about smart communications (with emails: http://www.pgpsi.com/2010/01/smart-communication-with-emails-1.html and on the telephone Smart communications … on the telephone (2)) in this one I will cover some rules to apply during telephone and video conferences.

Telephone and video conferences are a very important tools to facilitate virtual communications and hold virtual meetings.

So:

  • Are you organizing the conference? Then familiarize yourself with the technical aspects beforehand. This way you have one less stress factor during the meeting.
  • Related documents should be distributed in advance. Ideally, you have a participant at the other location with whom you can go through possibles critical or difficult points in advance.
  • Even if the agenda is tight, give everyone the opportunity at the beginning to acquaint themselves with each other. Personal contact is an important basis for future positive teamwork.
  • The conference should be conducted in English it the participants are multinational. Avoid side conversations in your mother tongue. This is even more irritating than during a normal meeting and, moreover, impolite.
  • Make sure that only one person speaks at a time. Conciously speak loud and clear, avoing background noises.
  • Minutes should be distributed within three working days (maximum), answering the quetions “Who is to do what and when?”

16 ene. 2010

Smart communications … on the telephone (2)

In a previous post in this blog (http://www.pgpsi.com/2010/01/smart-communication-with-emails-1.html), I shared with you a set of ‘good practices’ proposal to improve communications wiht the email.

As I said, email is one of the most used tools in communication processes in companies and projects. And of course, the other is telephone.

In this second post, I want to cover the use of telephone in these processes:

  • Say at the beginning what the call is about and which points you want to address. Give notice of longer phone calls.
  • Prepare important documents. If they could be of use, send them in advance to your counterparts. What objections or questions could the person have?
  • Verbaly summarize the outcome and measures at the end of the phone call. Briefly record the details in writing.
  • Turn on your answerphone when absent from your desk for a longer period. If you have a business cellular phone enter the number in the ‘notes’ address book.
  • When making overseas calls pay attention to the time zone where your counterpart is located. Think beforehand about the English terminoloy you may need.
  • Should you have problems getting in contact with someone abroad by telephone? Try reaching a third person! Call a different person you know at the same place.

10 ene. 2010

Smart communication …. with emails (1)

Communication are key in businesses, companies and project management.

And one of the more used tools, at this moment, is email. So it is very important to apply a set of ‘good practices’ in order to improve communications.

Email Address Finder por checkrecordsdotcom

Some years ago, I had the opportunity to access the internal ‘communications code’ of a very important, and international, company (I will maintain the confidentiality of the company, of course).

In this and next posts in the blog, I will share with you, some of these rules.

Firs of all, let’s review the proposals of how to use emails in order to have a ‘smart communication’:

  • Before writing an email think carefully about who is interested in the content. Keep distribution to a minimum.
  • Every email should have a significant subject heading. Also include what is required of the recipient.
  • Even with email correspondence, you are not communicating with computers but with people. Therefore, use a correct form of address as well as a form of greeting at the end.
  • Keep your message short without being too brief. It is better to use the telephone for complex matters. Avoid unnecessary technical terms. Read through each email before sending it.
  • Do you want to avoid making a bad impression? Then refrain from writing emails just in lower-case or upper-case and do not use emoticons. Spaces and puctuation make your message easier to read. Use abbreviations sparingly.
  • emails are not a suitable medium to dispel disputes. Always resolve difficult issues in a one-to-one conversation or by phone.
  • Spare your counterpart a tedious search by including your address and telephone number in your emails.
  • Sensitive information does not belong in an email. Outgoing emails are transmitted via Internet and could be read by unathorized persons.
  • Make sparing use of the tools ‘prioritization’, ‘acknowledgment of receipt’ and ‘blid copy’.
  • Only send attachements when they are necessary and meaningful. If you reply to or forward an email, only attach the amount of original material required to understand your reply.
  • You should reply to emails within 48 hours. If you are absent your counterpart should be informed. Activate your absence agents and enter the relevant information there.
  • After a long absence, first read all received emails before answering. One or the other matter may have solved itself. To obtain a better overview, sort incoming mails according to persons.
  • You do not have to read every emails as soon as it blinks on your screen. Set yourself a certain time to read and answer your emails.
  • Keep in mind that there are cultural differences in the use of the medium. Pick up the phone if your message remains unanswered.
  • Retain from printing emails. Store them in files instead. Check regularly what can be deleted. This saves the company money because filed emails take up storage capacity.