Phone call, voicemail, text, email, instant messaging. With so many options for getting in touch with others, it’s a good idea to step back and ask which channel you should be using. Do you text all of your contacts because it’s your favorite form of communication? While texting is certainly a great way to quickly get in touch with others, it’s not always the best method of communication.

Here’s a breakdown of the best ways to communicate in different situations:

Phone Calls – For scheduling meetings, contacting prospective clients

Use the old fashioned phone call to get in touch with clients or coworkers for scheduling meetings. It can be difficult to find the right time to meet with someone over email because you both have differing schedules and availability. On the phone, you can talk through which date and time works best for the both of you in a shorter amount of time than it would take to send emails back and forth. Phone calls are also the method you should use to reach out to prospective clients. It’s more professional if they are able to hear your tone of voice over the phone versus an email.

Voicemail – For confirming meetings, telling clients you have a message for them

The thing with voicemail is that a lot of people use it incorrectly. Instead of just leaving a voicemail letting someone know to call you back, give them a quick memo of what they can expect to receive information on when they return your call. Voicemail can also be used to confirm an upcoming meeting with someone.

Email – Lengthy messages, follow ups, corresponding with business partners and coworkers

As a professional, you get a lot of emails so you know how tedious it can be to go through them. To keep your inbox cleaner for yourself, your clients, and your coworkers – some conversations are best had through other methods. Reserve email for detailed messages and follow up notes from an earlier meeting or call. For example, if you’re a realtor and you spoke with your client about the types of properties they are interested in buying, it’s best to send them information about homes you want to present to them via email. This way you can include links to their listings and include information about the times they are available to be seen. Giving your client this information over phone would be both overwhelming and hard to remember.

Texting – Quick messages or updates

Texting can definitely be used in a business professional setting during the right circumstances. For realtors, communicating with clients can get hectic. Sometimes you just need to let a client know that you’re on your way to meet with them for a showing at a property. If you called to let your client know but they were already on their way, you would end up having to leave them a voicemail. In this situation, you can easily text your client and they will receive your message when they’ve arrived at the property. You can also text clients letting them know disclosure documents have been emailed to them. It’s a quick reminder that notifies them easily and if you want to preserve your professionalism, it’s perfectly fine to add a signature to your texts.

Picking the best form of communication for a coworker or client comes down to what would make the conversation progress as smoothly as possible. If you want to avoid any miscommunication or make sure certain information doesn’t get lost, call or email your contact. If you have a quick message for someone, just send them a text, and make sure you’re leaving voicemail messages of good quality. Keep these strong communication tips in mind for more productive conversations.

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