When you're trying to establish a professional relationship with someone, it's very easy to turn a stranger off with professional no-nos. You can get away with a lot more once you develop a deeper relationship with the person and when you get a better feel of how that person works. Take heed of these rules when you're communicating with someone professionally:
- Try not to contact them after work hours unless it's asked of you: If the other party did not suggest a time to talk after work hours, don't call them or email them after 6 or 7 p.m. unless it's an emergency or if the nature of your job requires you to contact them at night. There's nothing more frustrating than getting a 10 p.m. call to talk about work when it isn't urgent. Many of us like to clock out when work ends, so talking about job-related items can bring back unwanted memories of the daily grind.
- Leave their personal accounts alone: Don't contact them about work through their personal email, cell phone, Facebook, or chat when they haven't given you leave to do so. Most people don't like to mix their personal and professional lives, so don't corner them into doing it. However, if they engage you first through these accounts, it is OK to reply to them.
- Keep the punctuations and smiley faces to a minimum: When you don't know someone, it's a bit odd to add five exclamation marks at the end of the sentence and say things like "thank you a million times!" Don't overwhelm people before getting to know them. Being overenthusiastic can also come off as being insincere. Ease them into it.
- Give them time to reply: If you haven't heard back from someone, don't start bombarding them with emails, texts, and voicemail messages all in one day. Give them a little leeway and wait for them to reply you and try again the next day or even the next week if you have the time to wait.
- If they say no, don't push it: If they decline you, don't rephrase the same question and ask it again. The answer is no! Instead give them time to mull it over, present the issue again at a later date, and change the terms to better suit them. The more you push them, the more they'll withdraw. Remember, you can't badger someone into agreeing.
- Don't backtrack: Plan what you're going to say and offer carefully. Don't say something, then backtrack and change your words. It's always better to start the relationship off slow because you can then decide how you want to progress based on the results you're seeing.
- Remember that their time is precious: Their time is very valuable, so carefully pick what kind of communication works best. Emails are generally less disruptive so if you can convey your message via email, opt for that form of communication first.