Jan 19, 2024
Mastering the right tone is critical when connecting and communicating with people in the construction business. Whether you're writing an email, making a phone call, or meeting in person, how you present yourself can make all the difference in building strong relationships with clients, colleagues, and partners.
Research suggests that as much as 93% of communication is non-verbal, so it's unsurprising that the tone and meaning of emails and messages are misinterpreted as much as half the time.
For small construction businesses, email is frequently the preferred way to communicate with new leads, customers, and employees – but if you haven't mastered your tone, the meaning of your message may be lost. In the worst-case scenario, you may even unintentionally offend your audience.
Follow these tips to improve your tone when writing emails or other business communications.
1. Adapt to your audience
Tone reflects the writer's attitude toward the reader, so you'll use a different tone depending on whether you're asking a bank officer for a loan or your client to respond to your change order question.
Your relationship and purpose will help you decide on your word choices, which might be serious and formal, or relaxed and fun. Using active voice will bring your reader right to the point. Taking care always to use courteous language will keep them on the side.
2. Be clear and concise
Avoid using jargon or technical terms such as' load-bearing walls' or' footings' that may not be familiar to everyone you're communicating with. Instead, try to use plain language that is easy to understand and gets your point across effectively.
If it's in written form and you doubt how an email may be interpreted, hit save and return to it a day later – or ask a colleague to read it and provide some feedback.
These additional tips can help you write emails that get read and avoid offense or confusion:
3. Be professional and respectful
Use proper grammar and spelling, address people appropriately in all your interactions, and avoid confrontational or aggressive language.
What to do when delivering a negative message:
The tone becomes a more significant challenge if your message contains terrible news. After all, there is no way around creating unpleasant feelings in some circumstances.
You can, however, avoid insult to injury by following these tips:
Drafting a style guide this January for a fresh start will help make your construction company's "tone rules" clear to staff, help build greater brand recognition with a consistent voice, and help you avoid the wrong tone in your communications.
Start by defining your tone. Is it casual, fun, formal, serious, or quirky? Come up with five words that describe the tone of your brand. Then, list words that may and may not be used in your marketing emails.
To illustrate exactly what you're aiming for with tone, include some sample text in your guide – perhaps some of your company's collateral or examples of marketing emails you'd like your construction business to emulate.
Selling your services to homeowners involves art and creativity. Words are powerful, and visuals are captivating; combine them with your preferred business tone to make a fascinating webpage to attract the right audience.
You can also learn a lot by looking at your competition – pay attention to where they advertise, how they present their advertising, and the tone they use in their written material. Subscribing to competitor newsletters or regularly checking their websites is a good way of keeping up-to-date from a distance.
Remember, through it all, being an active listener is the key. One of the most valuable gifts one can give another person is to listen with empathy and understanding and let them speak until they are finished.
Being personable and approachable in connecting with others is essential. Don't be afraid to inject a little bit of personality or humor into your messaging, as long as it's appropriate and doesn't detract from the overall professionalism of your communication.
Whether you're communicating with employees about company issues, hoping to negotiate a rent reduction with the landowner, or changes to credit terms to your banker, by mastering the tone in your construction business communication, you can build stronger relationships, avoid misunderstandings, and ultimately achieve tremendous success in your work.
About The Author:
Sharie DeHart, QPA, co-founded Business Consulting And Accounting in Lynnwood, Washington. She is the leading expert in managing outsourced construction bookkeeping and accounting services companies and cash management accounting for small construction companies across the USA. She encourages Contractors and Construction Company Owners to stay current on their tax obligations and offers insights on managing the remaining cash flow to operate and grow their construction company sales and profits so they can put more money in the bank. Call 1-800-361-1770 or firstname.lastname@example.org