By Angela Copeland
Today, there are many ways to communicate. There’s old fashioned in person talking. There’s talking on a landline at home or work, and talking on a cell phone. Then, there’s email and cell phone texting. If you keep going, you’ll find things like messaging on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and so many more.
Chances are good that you assume that other people prefer to communicate the way you do. For example, if you’re comfortable with texting on your cell phone for business, you may do it without consideration as to whether the person on the other end is okay with it too.
But, we’re in the middle of an interesting time communication wise. In one workplace, you have many different generations working together. There are those who didn’t use computers until they were well into their professional careers. There are those in Generation X that grew up without computers, and then with them later in school. And, then you have those who don’t remember a time without computers or cell phones.
Every generation may have different communication preferences. Even within a generation, the preferences vary. One person may feel completely comfortable texting any time of day or night about work. Another may feel completely comfortable to call. While a third may think nothing about sending an email with many people carbon copied on it.
The problem is, when we don’t openly discuss our preferences, we may annoy those we work with. It’s not to say that disclosing our own preference will mean everyone will accommodate our wishes. But, if we don’t talk about the differences, we won’t know where the pitfalls are. After all, there’s no one right way to communicate.
I prefer not to text about work. I’d rather have an in person conversation, a phone call, or an email. Email feels easiest for me, although there are times when a live conversation is more effective.
Whatever you do, don’t assume. You may even want to talk to your team at work about what the communication guidelines will be in your group. What does each person prefer? Is it okay to text or email at night or on the weekends? When is it appropriate and when should things wait? Are there times when a meeting is more effective, or is the efficiency of email the way to go?
The same thought process should be applied to job interviews. If you’re the company, be aware that job seekers may not love it that you text them or call with no notice. You’re right that they’ve never complained. It’s because they’re hoping to get a job from you and they want to be easy to work with. If you’re the candidate, rely on more traditional communication methods such as phone and email. Don’t assume the company is okay with a text. And, only call if the recruiter or hiring manager has given you their contact information.
Angela Copeland, a career expert and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.