In a world where communication increasingly takes a written form and responses are truncated we can easily forget courtesy. And so, when we juggle emails, texts, and Instant Messages back and forth like ping pong balls, it can sometimes feel that we are in a boxing rink and not a collaboration.

I have to give my publicist credit for awakening me to this simple discipline. But it’s so simple and so effective that I just wanted to share it. So, here it is.

Start your emails, texts, and IM’s with Hi {first name}. That’s it.

Personalizing your response, is a simple way to remind yourself that you are interacting with a human being. A human being with a name. A human being with feelings. It may not always be possible or necessary to do this but test it out as much as you can. I promise it works.

When we greet the person before we respond, suddenly we are talking to a person. We are no longer barking commands or throwing a response back and forth. It stops you in your tracks and subtly reminds you to be kinder. This works. It really does.

My publicist asked at the start of our engagement that we communicate this way. I agreed of course because it was clearly important to him. And I found it such a unique request that I’ve studied it curiously ever since. I have since tried adopting the practice in all my communications as much as possible.

Greeting someone by name is respectful communication. It honors the person. Showing such discipline in your communications, helps foster rapport and improve relationships. If you can co-create this simple communication guideline in your workplace you will soon find that you feel less stressed too. You will feel less stressed because you will feel that less people are barking commands, telling you what to do, and forcing their thoughts upon you. Communications become more of an exchange. Morale improves when we feel respected.

Of course — nothing beats in person meetings or even phone calls to connect with people and build relationships. Don’t forget to do that too!

Click to download Five Keys to Unlocking Health, Happiness, and Meaning in Your Life on www.tarramitchell.com today! For more of my thoughts on leadership, personal growth, success and wellbeing, find me on Twitter: @tarrammitchell and/or Facebook: @tarrammitchell.

Tarra Mitchell is incorporating her distinctive background in business and yoga to contribute to the great conversation around leadership and consciousness. Her upcoming book, The Yoga of Leadership, shows how personal wellbeing is connected to success to inspire and empower leaders to lead healthier, happier lives, and better connect with and engage their teams.

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