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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Professionalism with Contracts

Professionalism is not a term that should be reserved for brick-and-mortar settings and executives of Fortune 500 companies. Professionalism is something that we all need to remember and be aware of in our everyday communications while working. In our case, work happens to be conducted in a predominantly virtual manner. However, just because we are not face-to-face or on the phone shouldn't give us a green light to be less than professional in our communication with others.

There are several things we can do to increase the professionalism in our emails that we send back and forth every day.

1. The little things help. Keeping your email short and to the point will make it easier for your contact to read and get back to you in a timely manner. Oftentimes, it can be very time consuming to read a verbose email, and you may not get the prompt response you are hoping for if you've included unnecessary filler. Additionally, making sure your subject line addresses the content of the email can make it easy for the person receiving it to categorize it correctly and prioritize it appropriately.

2. Be aware of the tone in your email. We forget that writing can come across differently than we intend it to. Without the ability to hear a person's tone of voice or observe their body language, emails can sometimes be misinterpreted. Be very aware of what you are saying and how you are saying it when you are communicating in business settings. Coming across as cold, angry or irritated is often not in your best interest in professional communication

3. Hiding behind email and the internet. Answering emails in a timely manner can mean a lot, even if your response is only to acknowledge receipt and let the other person know when you will be able to answer their question, complete something or look into something for them. It is not to your advantage to pretend as though you did not receive the email or that the magic email bunny ate it during its transfer over the internet. While technology glitches do happen, it is always best to keep the communication between you and your contact with a company open and honest.

4. Understanding the importance of constructive criticism. By letting you know where you can improve, you are being given a valuable opportunity to grow your skills as a transcriptionist. One of the key differences between a good transcriptionist and a great transcriptionist is the ability to incorporate constructive criticism into your work to produce a product that best meets your client's standards. Remember that the intention of constructive criticism is to help the recipient, not to render feelings of anger and resentment.

Finally, communication is key in the workplace. Always keep your contact informed if your files will be delayed or if there are any types of problems with them as soon as you foresee it being an issue. Telephone calls are always welcome when email is not an option, and it is a good idea to have their number ready in case an emergency should arise. Remember that in a job setting you would call in if you were sick or if something came up and you were going to be absent or late to work. The same goes for the transcription business. While we do not keep office hours as such, we are responsible for work with deadlines; if those are not going to be made, your contact/client needs to be informed as soon as possible.

Taking the extra step to be more professional in your business communications can make the work experience a more positive one for everyone involved. Not only will you be building your credibility, but you will also stand out from all the rest of the transcriptionists your contact may deal with on a daily basis.