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Crimes We Commit In Our eCommunications

HOSPITALITY-MATTERS-Aruna-Dhir Recently, I was approached for the Editor’s job with one of the leading national business magazines. Though overall the assignment sounded very exciting, due to a number of other factors I had to turn down the position. Maybe, the personality traits exhibited (including through e-communication) could be one of the factors.

At the interview, the owner of the publishing house and the CEO had handed out a couple of magazines to me for reference, asking me to return one of the magazines whenever I had gone through it. On the third day from the day of the interview I wrote to them to thank them (sending thank you notes after an interview is considered one of the finest interviewee attitudinal aspects; but more on that later) for their time, for the lovely meeting we had and to regret my availability for the position.

I got a reply from the CEO which I was shocked to go through. It had accusatory undertones. So what was really wrong with it? Let’s find out in the points listed below.

We all know that emails are the biggest aids, abettors and rescuers in business communication; so much so that we tend to use this vehicle even intra-departmentally. Regardless of what the health watchers will say, we still find it easier to tap on the keyboard and send mail than lifting ourselves even half up to confer over our cubicle walls.

Yet, in spite of the ease they bring to the way we communicate and conduct our business, we commit such glaring blunders that are nothing short of ‘communication crime.’ Here are a few to avoid, so as not to hang ourselves on the noose woven with threads of wrongful methods we adopt in our communication –

  1. Not sticking to facts (or not checking facts thoroughly)

It seems that we are in a tearing hurry to say our piece and hit the ‘send’ button. Goofing up on grammar and stumping ourselves with shoddy syntax is a minor issue. What is big is content that has not been checked to be factually correct, absolutely appropriate and relevant.

People from my line of trade – Public Relations – tend to, ironically, commit this one quite a bit, given our propensity to be verbose, beat around the bush and weave unnecessary tapestry around what we actually want to state.

In that CEO’s response to my thank you note, he kept asking for papers & presentations that he had not given to me in the first place. I do not know what led him to it – amnesia, too much workload, carelessness; but at one point I was so irritated by his constant asking that I had a good mind to ask him to review his CCTV tapes.

Whether it is because we have not read the initial request carefully or are against a sharp deadline or are loaded with a multitude of tasks; we still do not have an excuse to send information that is not meaningful and correct. Our text, many a times, tends to get fluffy and superficial intended to just fill up the body of the mail. Imagine the extent of disconcertment we put the receiver through by coming out as an indolent, incompetent individual.

With any mail that carries our signature at the end, the onus lies squarely on us to stick to the facts. No reason – real or imagined – is fit enough to cover our smudgy tracks.

  1. Assuming others can read our minds

This is a basic communication flaw in general and not just with e-communication. This is also the root cause of most misunderstandings between every conceivable equation on this planet.

Parents feel children just know what is expected of them and vice versa. Bosses are of the opinion that the subordinates will magically know everything they are supposed to without proper, systematic and clear channels of communication. Guests are indignant if the hotels ever use the IDK option. Conversely, hotels have lost several dollars in damages only because they felt that their guests knew about the policies and had patiently read through the very fine print of all T&C.

In e-communication, this assumption costs us dearly. Without the benefit of our presence, with no body language or tone and modulation of our voice to assist us we become sorely handicapped when we leave gaps in our communication. Our baseless presumption that the person in front is tuned in into our chain of thoughts causes a terrible logjam.

Communication gurus have defined 7 C’s of effective communication, viz. Clear, Concise, Concrete, Correct, Coherent, Complete, and Courteous. And at least four of these assert the significance of complete lucidity in your communication.

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L. Aruna Dhir
L. Aruna Dhirhttp://www.larunadhir.blogspot.com
L. Aruna Dhir is a Hospitality & Feature Writer and Columnist for some of the world’s highest-ranked Hospitality publications. Her industry writings are syndicated to the finest global hospitality bodies and used as references in case studies and hotel schools. Aruna runs an exclusive channel on the award-winning media digest, BizCatalyst 360° called “Hospitality Matters” based on her hospitality industry insight and commentary. Aruna is a recognized and national-poll winning Corporate Communications Specialist, PR Strategist, and Writer. A seasoned hotelier, Aruna loves to present hospitality industry watch, insights, case studies, and analysis to her ever-increasing base of global readership. Aruna has over two decades of experience in Hospitality Communications and Brand Management and has worked with some of the best global hotel companies. In her last corporate role, Aruna was the Director – Public Relations at The Imperial New Delhi, where she was part of the core group and was responsible for re-launching The Imperial as one of the finest hotels in India and Asia. Aruna’s hotel experience includes leading the Marketing Communications and Public Relations portfolio for flagship properties at The Oberoi Group and Hyatt International. She also helped launch the Vilases as the uber-luxury experiences from the Oberoi stable. As an industry expert, Aruna has launched brands, developed training modules, created standardization dockets on business communication, written manuals, conducted Image Study & Positioning Analysis, and led media campaigns of Australian Ministers in India. Aruna Dhir’s successful work tenure with Australia’s Diplomatic Mission in India in the capacity of Media Relations Officer, saw her working on a host of never-done-before exciting projects including the hugely rewarding organisation of Australia-India New Horizons – Australia’s largest ever Country Promotion. Aruna Dhir is the first-ever Creative Writer for the Indian greeting cards giant – ARCHIES Greetings and Gifts Ltd. The milestone puts her in the league of Helen Steiner Rice and Amanda Bradley. While with the company she came out with several series of cards sold under her byline – an unprecedented feat that has not been repeated since. L. Aruna Dhir also dabbles in poetry and has to her credit two titles of Anthologies published and marketed by Archies G&G Ltd. Aruna serves on the Board of Association of Emerging Leaders Dialogues (AELD), a front-running Commonwealth Body that works towards developing leaders and influencers of tomorrow, with Princess Anne as its international President. Aruna has been engaged in freelance work for Doordarshan – the Indian National Television, All India Radio, and Times FM. Academically, L. Aruna Dhir topped at the All-India level in her PG Diploma in Public Relations and Advertising. Aruna has been a Ph.D. scholar at Jawaharlal Nehru University, akin to an Ivy League in India. She has earned a Senior Management Course Certification from the Oberoi Centre for Learning & Development in partnership with the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow; V Dimension Management Company, London & Asian Institute of Management, Manila, Philippines. Aruna Dhir has represented India to a select group of opinion-makers in the United States, as a Cultural Ambassador under the GSE Program of Rotary International. She has also participated in the IXth Commonwealth Study Conference held in Australia and chaired by Princess Anne. Aruna is a Life Member of the Public Relations Society of India A Freelance Writer since 1987, with articles that have appeared in India’s topmost newspapers and magazines, Aruna is also a blogger, a memoirist with works published on platforms like Medium and a Book reviewer on Goodreads. In her official and personal capacity L. Aruna Dhir has and continues to work on several social awareness projects – People for Animals, Earthquake Relief, National Blind Association, PETA, WSPA, Change.org, Friendicoes to name a few. Born at Allahabad (now Prayagraj), one of the world’s oldest known cities, L. Aruna Dhir grew up and did her schooling in Dehradun, regarded as a prominent seat of academia and literature. After being brought up in the sylvan surroundings of the verdant Doon valley, Aruna chose to make the Capital City of Delhi her second home.

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2 CONVERSATIONS

  1. I find business emails to be a good tool to “confirm” where we are to to initiate an action, such as escalation. Sharing any information, even if it’s just status updates can cause “clunky” things to happen. So I limit my emails to:
    – scheduling, setting up a conversation or meeting
    – record of the face-to-face conversation
    – confirmation that we are where we are
    – pure one way communication to base line for a future meeting/conference

    In my eyes, having no emails is more beneficial to the organization’s health than having too many.

  2. Excellent points, as always, Aruna. I believe that email and texting has made us all either lazy or inept, or both. We are rapidly loosing the ability to communicate on a personal and face to face basis. My personal pet peeve is the use of acronyms. It is assumed that I know what LMAO or SYAW means. Well, I don’t, so write it out. Or even better walk down the hall or call me.

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