Everyone has a communications pet peeve in the workplace, such as when people habitually “reply-all” to emails. But are any of your habits peeving somebody else?
Four common bad habits, as well as steps admins can take to break them.
1. The smartphone addict. These offenders focus on their phones above all other things. In meetings, they lay them out in plain view, checking them constantly. To the others in the room, it sends out a message: “You are not a priority.” If this is you, put the phone away. Focus on getting more out of the face-to-face communication.
2. The stalker. Stalkers may be self-important, or perhaps just prone to excitement, but they tend to communicate everything as if it were an emergency. Every email is a high-priority, and if stalkers don’t receive a response in a matter of minutes, the recipient gets bombarded with phone calls or text messages. To avoid being a stalker, think through your goals and make sure email is even the right medium. “If I have to scroll down to read it, this should never have been an email,” says David Adams, a VP with Adecco Group, a global staffing firm. Instead, “have a live conversation and use the email to summarize what you discussed.”
3. The master of disguise. These people have multiple email addresses and constantly shift conversations from email to text to phone and back. Is this your weakness? Instead, let everyone know how best to contact you, and try to stick to that method as much as possible. This does not mean you have to be waiting by your smartphone at all hours of the day. For example, an admin can tell co-workers, “So we can all enjoy dinner with our families, I will respond to any emails sent after 5 p.m. first thing the next business day.”
4. The “cc” abuser. This offender likes to include others in their business and spams co-workers’ inboxes with unnecessary cc’s, undermining trust and inviting unwanted participation in a conversation. Don’t repeatedly cc someone if he does not absolutely need a play-by-play of a situation. Always ask yourself, “Who is this email for?” before you even write. Sounds simple, but it works.
It’s important to sit down and evaluate your communication behavior once in a while. Don’t cause a communications breakdown with these common, but avoidable, off-putting habits.
— Adapted from “4 Cardinal Sins of Work Communication,” Katherine Reynolds Lewis, CNNMoney.com.