Whether we are faced with asking a professor for an extension on a paper, pitching a liquor company to license a drinking glasses made entirely out of ice, or reviewing an email blast before we hit send, it is important to be sensitive to the communication options at our disposal. Let’s consider the rainbow of options for communication:
- Eyeball to eyeball
- Phone call
- Text (including Messenger)
- Other (not yet discovered or defined).
There is no perfect method, but we want to be cognizant and critical of when and how we communicate. No matter where we are or what stage in our lives, whether we are in college, working in the marketplace, or having coffee with our spouse or loved one, we constantly are learning how to mix our communication.
Some ideas include:
Email: A great tool when there is a call to action. Good chance that the receiver of the email will be at their desk, on their computer, and able to respond with more thought and organization. Lots of people hide behind email. They hit send and falsely believe that the task is complete. Careful with that.
Letter: Most underutilized. Consider getting out a pen and paper and write someone a letter, right now. Think it’ll have an impact? Try it!
Text: when there is a need for quick, collaborative communication.
Eyeball to eyeball: crucial, but takes logistics at worst, and spontaneity, at best.
Phone: Great for catching up and ideating*, or when wires need a bit of untangling. Younger people entering the work force have been criticized for being afraid to talk on the phone. Don’t be one of those. Get a voicemail? Keep it short. Ask for one thing. “Hi Sara, i’m calling about the three fabric options. Can you give me a quick call ?” Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone!
Telepathy. The ultimate. Some business partners have it. Some family members have it. When you find it, don’t overuse it, and hold it dearly. Cherish it.
Sales professionals, generally, have become good at mixing the communication cocktail. Just like bears know where and when to get in the water to grab for salmon, sales professionals have learned how to customize their communication methods to fish how and when the fish are running. It takes practice. It takes patience. Ask any bear.
BONUS: By mixing the communication cocktail, sales people can tune the “peacock effect.” Mixing a finely tuned recipe of 1-7 above allows salespeople to work effectively, without being a pain in the ass (over communicating) and without appearing vacant (“what’s my reps. name again?”).
Is eyeball to eyeball the alcohol in the drink? Is email the ice? Each communication method has its importance to make a great communication cocktail.
*ideating. best to use this word sparingly. Much like optimize, robust, disruption.