Communicate like a pro!
by Kelly Burne, Graduate Assistant
Student leaders are often presented with the unique opportunity of exploring the professional world while still gaining knowledge and skills through the traditional student experience. In choosing to seek a leadership position, you’ve already proven that you’ve got what it takes to make a positive impact on your community. Here are some handy professional communication hints to help you make the best possible impression.
1) Thnk Me L8er
Text message lingo and emoticons are quick and cute ways to get your thoughts across to family and friends, but leave the smiley faces and text abbreviations to your BFF and your G-ma. They have absolutely no place in professional communication. If you want to be taken seriously by the professional community, present yourself as a serious and capable in any form of written communication.
2) Consider the Voice of your Department or Organization
Be careful when using the BSU name or the names of specific university departments or organizations in the content of written communication or even your email signature. By including these names, you’re suggesting that the content of your communication reflects the position of the respective organization or department.
3) Play it Safe
If you’re questioning whether your language is crossing the lines of professionalism, it probably is. Consider other ways to get your thoughts across in a more professional manner. If you’re not sure how to make this happen, solicit the advice of a professional mentor. There’s nothing wrong with asking questions. You’ll gain a great learning experience and you’ll know what to do when similar situations arise in the future.
4) Learn from Mistakes
Chances are you’ll end up putting your foot in your mouth at some point. We’ve all been there. So whether you address the president of the university as “dude” or send a smiley face to your new boss, just remember that you’re only human. You’re bound to make mistakes. The signs of a true leader and professional are owning up to those faux pas, learning from them, and keeping the big picture in mind. Ultimately, what matters most is not the LOL you included in your email, but the contributions you make to your community as a whole.