If you look at the average email signature, business card or professional profile, it is clear to see that most modern professionals use quite a few different means of communication. However, between the land line, mobile, Skype ID, email address, Twitter name, LinkedIn profile, instant messaging accounts and of course, postal address, how do you know what is going to be the most effective, or preferred means of getting in touch with a person you don’t know very well?
Whether it is someone you are trying to network with for business reasons, or someone you’d simply like to get in touch with to become a close friend (or more), it can be a bit of a dilemma knowing whether you should be typing, texting, dialling or tweeting! Here are some tips to help get through the communications minefield:
If you want to contact someone for a specific reason, for example to ask them a question, to invite them to something or to take them up on an offer they made last time you saw them, then you want a direct approach. That is, something where they are definitely going to see it and are likely to reply straight away.
Direct approaches would be a phone call (either using a mobile number, landline or Skype), a text or an instant message. These tend to demand immediate attention, and if you are angling for an answer that is time sensitive (for example, do they want to meet for lunch today), it is perfectly acceptable to use these methods without looking pushy. If one method fails, for example they don’t answer their phone, try a second (perhaps a text) rather than keeping on persistently redialling – this can look a little rude if it isn’t something urgent.
If you just want to open up a dialogue with the person, so that they remember you and you have a chance to begin building a relationship of any kind, you may not have a real ‘excuse’ to call them or start an instant conversation. People can find calls, texts and instant messages from people they don’t know very well quite annoying when the person doesn’t really have anything to say, and while they may be polite enough to respond to a message that just says ‘hi’ or tries to open up some small talk, it isn’t going to raise their impression of you.
This is when you should use less insistent means of communication. You can make jokey comments on things they say on Facebook, reply to their tweets on Twitter, or even send them an email just to start a chat – as you are writing it you have far more time to think of interesting things to say than you do in a text or IM conversation. And, of course, there isn’t the same sense when they receive it that they have to reply right away, even if they are busy.
If it is a business contact, Facebook and Twitter may be a little too personal (depending how they use their accounts), but an email is still a good way to begin a conversation – you can simply email saying you were pleased to meet them and perhaps attach any brochures or other material you discussed or which might interest them.
Author Bio: Jenny Wadlow, is a freelance writer. She is a tech enthusiast and believes that cordless phones are a very important phone system for any organization. She enjoys listening to music in her spare time.