Almost every business professional I know can name at least one employee whom they perceive adds little value to achieving company vision and/or team goals. I am referring to that person whose emails you ignore, whose phone calls you send to voicemail, and whose meetings you avoid.
Whether that perception is right or wrong, it's usually because that person has a history of delivering non-value-added content. In other words, if you constantly share information that has little value for your intended audience, at some point, you will be seen as a person with little to offer professionally. Being labeled as such hinders your ability to thrive in your career.
In an effort to avoid this situation and become the person who people look forward to hearing from, there are a few simple things you can do. First, you have to understand that it is up to you — the person delivering the message — to ensure that the message is understood. Every time you communicate with someone, take responsibility for your message.
Deliver Error-Free Content
When you send any message, make sure it is well-written and clear of errors. It seems like a simple concept, but think about how often you come across a message with mistakes. How do you perceive the author? Do you even feel like reading it to the end? A message riddled with mistakes takes away from its effectiveness.
Sometimes people send messages from their phones with a line at the end that says something to the effect of, "Sent from my phone. Please forgive my errors.” The days where that explanation is acceptable are long gone. We can no longer blame a phone (or any other program) for improper communication. Sometimes we're focusing on multiple things at once, and we make mistakes. That's understandable. However, if we took the time to double check our work, we would easily avoid sending messages with mistakes.
This is true with all forms of communication, whether it is an email, presentation, tweet, speech, webinar, or some other form of communication. Don’t let errors get in the way of delivering an effective message. For example, as a professional speaker, I make sure every time I deliver a presentation that all words on my PowerPoint are spelled correctly and that every word I speak is, in fact, a word. If not, I could lose the attention of my audience just as quickly.
Ensure Content Is Relevant
Perhaps a more important habit is to make sure that what you are communicating has value to the actual recipient(s). Too often, we are so concerned about how we communicate a message that we never take the time to ask, "Why does this person care?"
That's often what happens when vendors cold call prospects. They are so focused on what to say that they aren't concentrating on whom they are talking to. Just think about how often you receive solicitations for products or services that have absolutely no relevance to you. Usually, the caller (or emailer) is just thinking about how to deliver the message and, at best, hoping it may be relevant.
Some people take this same approach when interacting with co-workers. They spend all their time working on how to deliver a message, but very little time ensuring that the recipient actually cares. Then they wonder why they don’t get the response they anticipated. I actually used to have a folder labeled “internal spam” for such messages from co-workers.
Before you send an email, deliver a presentation or schedule a meeting, explain to the recipient what they stand to gain. In this day and age, there is a tendency to deliver information to groups even when we know the information is only applicable to a few of the members. This is a bad habit. When you communicate non-relevant information, members of the group who cannot use the information will start to view you as less valuable.
At the end of the day, we need to be intentional with our communication. If we don't want to be perceived in a negative light, our messages should be well-written, well-stated and most importantly, relevant. So stop sending non-value-added content. Become the professional who people look forward to hearing from because you have something valuable to say. Getting in the habit of delivering meaningful, and thought-provoking information will help you increase your level of influence.
Originally published on December 31, 2017 by SpeakerMatch Speakers Bureau