Email and Text Like a Pro

Sometimes we are limited to texting and emailing in situations with our customers, partners, and co-workers. It is important to think about how you come across in your written communication. Here are a few things you can practice to better represent McFarland Construction in your email and text conversations:

Be courteous and professional – Treat your email or text like a discussion. Starting your note with a greeting such as “good morning” or “hope you are well” is a way of showing respect. Try to treat people the way they want to be treated while succeeding in getting the information you need. Email and text never go away so BE AWARE that what you write can always be recovered or forwarded to others and it may not serve you well.

Be clear and direct - It is really challenging to represent the meaning of your note in few words, but too much info turns people off. Work to be brief and specific in what you are asking of the recipient in your email or text. Sometimes we think people should understand our incomplete message and fill in the missing parts, but this may lead to confusion and frustration. If what you are asking would be easier to communicate in a discussion, pick up the phone and speak with people. Don’t assume people know as much as you know about your topic or issue. 

Be self-aware – If email and text are serving you well in getting tasks accomplished, this is a great way to continue communicating. If you experience some tension and the tone turns negative, sometimes it is better to make a quick phone call or meet in person. Bad situations tend to get worse if tensions escalate on an email/text exchange that is not going well. Pick up the phone and talk it out!

Be responsive - The amount of emails we receive can be overwhelming. Challenge yourself to respond on the first read because it will cost you at least twice as much time to revisit an opened email later. If you cannot address the issue, at least respond to let the person know you have received it and you plan to respond in the next day or so if it requires more time. People appreciate knowing they have been heard, so it is just part of our customer service culture to respond whether it is a client, partner, or co-worker.

The last suggestion relates to sharing bad news. Have you ever received a “bad news” email on something important to you? It feels hollow and often leads to anger or misunderstanding. We don’t always have the luxury of a phone call or meeting to share information that is uncomfortable or negative. However, to the extent possible, it feels more genuine to deliver a tough message verbally and enables you to add detail to explain a situation or outcome through discussion. Maintaining trust is much easier if we practice talking things through rather than relying on the impersonal exchange of email and text.