Adopting Social Graces

Social etiquette is an important aspect that must be cultivated when developing your personal and career growth. For the next few weeks, i’ll be writing out my thoughts on essential social graces you cannot do without. Today, my focus will be “Business Communication”.

We send and receive emails and letters on a daily basis. Letter writing or email is one of the communication modes that is required within the corporate world. Whether you’re an employee or a business owner, cultivating the habit of writing effective letters and emails would do you a lot of good.

The purpose of business communication is to provide information, to document a fact or request something. If your intended recipient does not understand the reason for your letter, there will be no effective communication. Oftentimes, most individuals use shortcuts in overcoming these hurdles. However, it’s important to note that adopting shortcuts can cost you your professional career or that prospective client.

There are certain points you need to remember when drafting an email.

  • Audience: Who is your intended recipient? A boss, client or prospective client? Depending on who will read the email, it is essential you determine the tone of your mail. If your intended reader is a colleague or your manager, adopt a more formal tone. If you are writing to your friends and family, adopt a friendly and warm tone. For an official letter, use the appropriate greetings and sign-offs. In this part of the world, most official emails end with “Warm Regards, Best Regards or simply Regards”.
  • Clarity: It is important to know and communicate in clear simple terms the reason behind your mail. It is also essential you be clear on the subject of your mail. Don’t use jargons or slangs  such as ‘thingy’ when communicating officially, keep  the mail easy to understand. Use active words and do not include quotations.
  • Concise: Stick to the reason behind your mail. Don’t confuse the reader with unnecessary fillers. Don’t be worried about the short length of your mail. Keep it simple stupid (KISS)!
  • Complete: Complete your sentences and don’t keep the reader guessing or at a loss. Use effective sentences and punctuate where necessary. Don’t be vague.
  • Considerate and Courteous: Always apply the human touch to your mails. Never use a disrespectful tone when sending an official mail. Your anger or disrespectful tone will be reflected in your mails. Also concentrate and don’t drift off the subject. Anticipate obvious questions and possible answers.
  • Proofread: Don’t click on the send button without proof reading it. Check for spelling mistakes, grammatical and punctuation errors. Re-read it from the reader’s perspective and correct the tone if required. A vital tip is to read the mail from the last sentence, gradually going upwards. This helps to concentrate on the errors and not the content of the mail. You can ask someone else to read out the mail before sending it.

On a final note, Happy Independence Celebrations to all Nigerians as we clock the big ’50’. I hope the next 50 years will be more eventful for our dear country.

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