From a forwarded email.
In your very best relationship - whether your spouse, best friend, sister, co-worker - you can easily communicate with them in a high value way. You telephone, email, write notes, make plans and generally stay in contact with them because you want a connection and a relationship with them.
In building very good relationships in business, it is absolutely the same. What is different in a business relationship is that you are communicating with colleagues and you don't always know them as well as a dear friend. However, they need the same attention that a good relationship needs.
These needs are:
- Returning a phone call
- Following up on a request
- Listening intently
- Appreciative communication
- Clear communication with details and directions
- Doing what you say you will do
- Remembering what is important to them
- Valuing what is most important to them
Our communication styles and methods are being stretched by email, technology, lack of time and resources that limit our ability to do so much in our day. If you take the time to examine what is important to you, I think you will find that they are also the courtesies that you expect in all business communication, actually how you would like to be treated and communicated with.
Email - Not only should you be returning emails in a timely way, but you need to set the context each and every time of why the email is important and what information it is that you want to deliver. Spam filters help, but in order to more easily control your email load, you need to be in more control of what you generate yourself. In business, be brief, be informational and be gone.
Cell phones - The ring tones that are available now are fun outside of the office, networking situations, client lunches etc. Put your cell phone on manner mode or shut it off. Take and make calls when you are with people sparingly. Most people are not interested in listening to your phone conversation no matter how stimulating you think they might be. If you need to take or make a call, excuse yourself and then make it brief.
Returning phone calls - Whether you think you have time to return the call or not, find out what people need, make sure you are clear on whether you can help them or not and then get back to your own work. People who return phone calls are trusted and respected. You do not need to make the calls long. In fact, returning all calls twice a day instead of doing it piece meal all day long is a good way to manage your time more appropriately.
Here are some additional basics that will help you grow your own identity and brand which will identify you as a trusted and respected up and coming leader:
Practice your handshake - Ask a friend to shake hands with you and then give you feedback. Firm is good.
Eye contact - Learn to look at a person when they are speaking.
Body language - 55% of our nonverbal communication is our body. Watch what your body is saying about you.
Business cards - Get one and have them with you ALL of the time. You should include an address, email, telephone number, full name, what you do and your title.
Standing and greeting - If you are being introduced, stand, reach out your hand and shake their hand.