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The golden rule of business communication

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How many times have you been annoyed by people – whether clients, business associates or other personal contacts – not replying to your emails? And then next time you speak to or meet them, they profusely apologise for not having got back to you with a multitude of unconvincing excuses, such as being very busy etc. One of the people I am working with recently complained that a lot of their enquiry emails to companies have not been answered and how frustrating it was to not even know whether they have been received. Having been through the same experiences before, I decided to write this short blog to address the issue.

The simple truth in the majority of these cases is that they either forgot to reply or decided to ignore your email. But in either case, by not getting back, they are probably signalling a lack of interest in the matter you wanted to discuss. And ultimately it may show lack of respect and consideration, which is not a good foundation to build trust and understanding on.

In business communication, the old ‘do to others as you would have them do to you’ rule applies as much as in everyday life. If you like to receive prompt responses to your queries, respond fast yourself. If you are unsure about how to tackle the issue or haven’t had enough time to consider all possible options, then a simple confirmation of the email receipt along with the promise to get back to the person a bit later should be enough. Or else a more direct approach explaining why you are not interested or can’t be of help is much better than ignoring the email for days and weeks.

As far as your business clients are concerned, the best strategy is to reply as soon as you get their email, this applies both in the case of prospective clients and current ones. Sometimes the length between when the email was sent and when you response arrived, is a matter of winning a particular client or losing an opportunity.

I would like to hear your examples of other ‘golden’ rules of business communication so please feel free to share in the Comments box below.

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