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You Can’t Master IM Until You Learn To Communicate

When you first start to get into IM and explore the waters a bit, it’s not difficult to feel overwhelmed. As you sort through information in articles and forums, you’ll see all kinds of lists featuring “how you too can be the next big thing!” All of these lists are going to look like oppose each other.

One list will state that becoming the next “big thing” is all about being diligent. Another is going to tell you that you should have plenty of business savvy. Nonetheless, others will state that creativity is the secret to wild and fantastic success. And, of course, there are going to be lots of sales pages claiming they have the software system or class to teach you how to be the next big thing.

The truth is that all of these things are important to your success (well, perhaps not all of those software programs, but the other stuff). Business smarts, creativity and patience are all incredibly essential to your success in IM. Naturally, if you can’t clearly communicate with customers and clients, none of the rest of it will basically matter.

Good communication involves more than simply setting up a well-written sales page. A skilled copywriter can deal with that part of your project. Good communication is more than having a gorgeous web site with an extensive FAQ section. A good web site designer and writer can do those things for you. Being good at communication calls for learning to handle interpersonal communication as well as your copy and website. So what are you supposed to do to be a good communicator?

1. Respond to every e-mail you get in 24 hours or less. This is not a joke. You don’t need to write a long reply for each mail. All you have to do is write a brief message that says something like “I got your e-mail and will be sending you a detailed response shortly.” Try to include a portion of the email that references something the sender has written. This tells the person that you really care about them and are not an autoresponder.

2. Answer your phone. It’s not a good idea to screen your calls. Try answering the phone by the third ring. You need to do this even if the Caller ID tells you that the call is from somebody that you just do not wish to talk to. You might be happy to find out that there is an exemption to this particular rule. There’s no need for you to be attached to the telephone 24/7. Instead, set clear business hours during which you will be available to answer the phone. These business hours should be displayed prominently on your web site and stated in your voice mail message too. And, naturally, each caller who leaves a message deserves a return call.

3. Follow up with people to be certain that they have gotten your memos, emails, messages, etc. This shows them that you value your communication with them. It will endear you further if you include something like, “Is there anything that I can be clearer about?” so that, if they have queries, you can answer them.

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