When I tell people that one of the main topics I write about on my blog is communication etiquette, I'm often asked, "Why's that important?" And really, that's a valid question. In a world where we spend less and less time conversing with each other face-to-face and more and more time in front of our computers instant messaging and writing status updates, it's easy to forget the importance of communication etiquette. People tend to forget that even when we IM there is a certain protocol in place as to how it's done and what is said.
So why is protocol and etiquette important? This is how we cement our relationships. People who know the ins and outs of how to communicate appropriately and successfully generally have better relationships, and when you have a multitude of solid relationships, it's a lot easier to get things done.
When you surround yourself with people you like and like to do business with, things just run more smoothly. You go out of your way to help others because you want to help your friends and not because your doing a colleague a favor. You can make things happen faster because you know exactly who to call when you need help and know that they are also ready and willing to help you when you need it.
What if you don't know someone who can print your sales folders overnight for a good price? Chances are you have a friend in your network who knows someone. By leveraging your relationship, you might just be able to make a successful deal.
This is what networking and building relationships is all about. But if you blow it from the start by making an awful first impression, not following up with the person or saying something inappropriate, you could lose the relationship before you've even started building it.
Relationships are our lifeblood not only socially, but also professionally. Make sure that you are up to speed on the rules of etiquette that govern how you interact with others - especially how you communicate!