Recommended Reading: Darling Magazine - An Email is a Tool to Accomplish Something, Not a Work of Art

Welcome back! We'll be sharing our biggest lesson from 2017, loads of highlights from the year, and our January 2018 updates later this week.

To kick off our 2018 blog posts, I'm throwing it back to a fundamental skill shared by Jess Trinca, Senior Vice-President and General Manager at Darling Media, how to send a great email. Here at Startup Edmonton, I'm constantly shifting between communications channels: email, an obscene number of Slack channels and teams, social media accounts up to my eyeballs, Skype Business Chat, Microsoft Teams, plus, the occasional face-to-face conversation with another real-life human. 

My favourite piece of advice from Jess is to be clear about what you want and ask for it. By following this simple rule, you always know why you're sending an email, and the recipient always knows what to do with it. I'm sure you've been on the receiving end of an email, and after reading it, you're not sure what you're supposed to do with the information. It's beyond frustrating. 

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Building on Jess's recommendations, here are my top three tips for navigating multiple business communications channels in 2018: 


Ask someone what type of communication is best for them & then follow through.

If someone tells you it's best to call and you email them all day long and get frustrated that they don't get back to you - that's on you not them. I worked in media relations and PR for more than a decade before coming to Startup Edmonton. If a reporter wanted a fax rather than an email, I didn't ask questions; I just sent the fax! 

When the functionally of a platform doesn't work for a task, don't try to force it - just find a better fit for the moment. 

Our team at Startup Edmonton and lots of startup companies use Slack for day-in-day-out communication. I like that it organizes conversations by topic, that you can scroll through archived messages that you might have missed while out at a meeting, and it has lots of great features from custom reaction emojis to integrated video calls. That said, it doesn't work for everything, and it makes some conversations feel fleeting rather than carry any weight or importance.

So, what's the key to navigating a transition to another platform? Ask on your regular communications platform and make the move right away just for that specific moment, you don't need to throw everything out the window! 

Be grateful for the time people spend reading, reacting, and responding to your messages. (And, act with grace when people aren't so awesome.)

No matter the platform, it takes a lot of time to navigate relationships through digital communication, and things can go off the rails really quickly. Rather than relying on exclamation points and smiley faces to smooth over rough patches, let people know you value their time, ask for clarification often and quickly, and don't shy away from being yourself. 

Last year, the Startup Edmonton team added our photos to all of our emails, and it made a big difference to the success of our communications because 1) it reminded us to always write as ourselves and b) it creates a lot of ease with new folks coming into the community, programs and space.

2018 is going to be a great year full of lots of emails, live chats, and more. I can't wait to connect with you soon. 

Images via  Chaunté Vaughn  | Darling Magazine January 11, 2018

Images via Chaunté Vaughn | Darling Magazine January 11, 2018