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Friday, August 3, 2012

Secrets of an Arts Administrator

Secrets of an Arts Administrator is a weekly blog post written by BAC's Executive Director Leigh Anne Chambers.

Topic: Importance of Communication

Today I am thinking about communication or rather miscommunication.  Having a two year old makes one acutely aware of how crucial clear direct correspondence is between two individuals.  Often in our tech filled society we forget the importance of communication etiquette and how necessary it is in the professional world.

Since, email is a commonly used method of communication between artists and professional partners, we will review some common mistakes made and how to correct them. 

When sending emails remember that your physical expressions, tone of voice, or body language are not factors so its important to treat sentence structure and content carefully.  Always remember the following things:
  • Make sure your email contains a courteous greeting and closing.  Since vocal tone is not present it helps set up the email with a general feeling and will directly influence the rest of the content of the message.  
  • Always use the spell check option on you e-mail server.  Typos are embarrassing and can be easily avoided.  
  •  Don't forget words like "please" and "thank you".  (They are as important now as they were when you were two). 
  • Avoid generalities and obscure references.  Be specific and clear when discussing issues, concerns, or presenting ideas.  This will help avoid unnecessary back and forth emails.
  • If you are upset wait until you calm down to send an email.  Remember you can't undo a send. 
  • Keep emails brief and to the point.  If it can't be brief or to the point pick up the telephone and give the person a call. 
  • DO NOT TYPE IN ALL CAPS.  It makes the person think you are yelling at them.
  • do not type your emails all in lower case.  It makes the person think it's not worth your time to use correct sentence structure.  
  • When sending attachments watch the file size and adjust accordingly.  A variety of methods exist to compress, zip, or file share so utilize them.  
  • Be aware that not everyone has the same the software.  It's best to check before sending an attachment or converting items to a PDF format. 
  • Always include a subject in the subject line.  Some email servers automatically "spam" items with no subject. 
  • When sending a mass email it always best to use the BCC function.
  • When you can't respond to an email promptly, send a confirmation of receipt and a short message letting them know when they might expect a response.  
This may seem like a lot but good email correspondence is the first step towards positive and clear communication.  Many individuals have inadvertently ruined good professional relationships by ignoring one of the etiquette's above.

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