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ENGLISH AT WORK: Dear Ken


Spotlight - epaper ⋅ Ausgabe 8/2018 vom 25.07.2018

Communication expert KEN TAYLOR answers your questions about business English. This month, he looks at the use of modern communication devices.


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Bildquelle: Spotlight, Ausgabe 8/2018

KEN TAYLOR is a communication consultant and author of50 Ways to Improve Your Business English (Summertown). Contact: ktaylor868@aol.com


Dear Ken

I would like to know whether or not it’s important to own a modern smartphone these days. Do you think that I am also competitive when using a normal, old-school mobile phone? ...

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I would like to know whether or not it’s important to own a modern smartphone these days. Do you think that I am also competitive when using a normal, old-school mobile phone?
I look forward to your answer.
Regards
Christian B.

Dear Christian

I’m not sure that I am the right person to answer your question about smartphones. My attitude to technology of this kind is based purely on practicality. Is the piece of equipment necessary for my work and practical and easy to use? I’m not of an age or in an industry where being highly fashionable is important! The advantage of a smartphone is, for me, simply function and portability.
However, I do believe that we need to think about how we use our phones in public places when anyone nearby might be able to overhear our conversations.
When you are calling from a place where you might be overheard, warn the person at the other end of the line about the situation. Do the same when you are taking a call. In this case, you can always suggest that you call back later.
If you are with someone, don’t forget to apologize before answering a call — and do the same afterwards, too. It’s simply good manners to do so.
All the best
Ken

Dear Ken

Do you have any tips about sending text messages in business? More and more people are texting me at work. I’d like to know what mistakes to avoid.
With best wishes
Heidi D.

Dear Heidi

Texting is certainly becoming increasingly more common in work situations. I have four simple rules that guide my approach:
• My first rule is to be both positive and polite. I write complete sentences and I put in politeness words and phrases, such as “please” and “thank you”. I don’t want the recipients to misinterpret the tone of my messages, which they can easily do if the message is quick, short and abbreviated. In fact, I rarely use abbreviations in business messages, especially if I’m writing to someone I don’t know. There is always the danger of leaving the recipient confused if they don’t know what your abbreviations stand for.
• My second rule is to avoid serious topics in text messages. Serious conversations should, preferably, take place face-to-face so that you can interact on a more personal level. Failing this, a phone call is the next best thing.
• My third rule is never to text last-minute changes or cancellations to someone. It’s very easy to miss a text message. To ensure my business partners get time-sensitive or important messages, I phone them.
• My final rule is to double-check the autocorrect. Modern smartphones are some times too “smart”, and the autocorrect feature can change the text without you noticing it — occasionally in an embarrassing way!
When texting in business, we are still representatives of our organization. We need to keep this in mind before we press the “send” button.
Regards
Ken

Send your questions about business English by e-mail with “Dear Ken” in the subject line to: language@spotlight-verlag.de Each month, I answer two questionsSpotlight readers have sent in. If one of them is your question, you’ll receive a copy of my book:Dear Ken… 101 answers to your questions about business English. So don’t forget to add your postal address.


Foto: Gert Krautbauer