Less is more. Keep it professional. Short, sweet, and to the point. Time is money. In every business class that I’ve ever taken, these are the ideas that professors hammered home whilst preparing my classmates and I for future business correspondence and interaction. As someone who specializes in Communications, something about this message never sat right with me. Now that I’ve entered into my own professional life, I see this crisp, no-nonsense form of interaction taking place daily, and I disagree with it more than ever before.

Although it is an undeniable truth that everyone in the working world is incredibly busy with too few hours in the day, it is also undeniable that people crave positive, meaningful interactions and nurturing relationships. To me, stress and dissatisfaction in the workplace has an immediate and direct association with negative energy and harsh feedback, and that absolutely includes business relationships with customers and outside associates.
I know that I would much rather exchange emails with someone who refrains from communicating in brash, clipped sentences, someone who takes that one extra moment to inquire after my well-being, wish me a good day, or acknowledge a job well done. I also look more highly upon a company that employs people that seem to truly care. Don’t you? I guess that is why companies consistently pay for advertisements and marketing materials that showcase their employees providing “service with a smile”—being friendly and warm is associated with going the extra mile in creating customer satisfaction.

The bottom line is that everyone enjoys working more when it is with people that they like, and the most likeable quality a person can possess is genuine consideration for and interest in others. Taking the time to build upon your relationship with the people you do business with reflects positively on you and your company, making both a more attractive asset and investment. Most people don’t set out to come across as rude or distant in corporate communications, but oftentimes being harried and busy can make us behave that way without realizing it, which starts a chain reaction that will negatively affect your business relationships and overall success somewhere down the line.

So today, I challenge you to make a concerted effort to pay it forward: when you’re concluding an email, throw in a pat on the back for something that person has recently done to make your life easier. If they are a new contact, simply let them know that you hope they have a magnificent morning or an excellent evening. Take the time to ask your coworker how their weekend trip went, or how their wedding planning is going, or compliment them on their fierce top (another one of my core values: Flattery will get you everywhere). Contrary to popular belief, kindness does not indicate a lack of professionalism (and neither do exclamation points, darn it!) and your enthusiasm and thoughtfulness will make a distinct impression that will take you farther than you think.