These days more and more businesses are adapting to using MSN within the business to communicate internally and also externally. When I started Freestyle we used MSN immediately for internal communications and we still do. Yes, we have colleagues sitting next to each still typing to each other as opposed to speaking. For us this is ok because we are online marketers and are used to this kind of communication. We are always in touch with each other and always know where something is up to and what someone else could need. Its just faster to MSN someone as opposed to emailing them.

Now I have had some experiences in using MSN externally to clients. Now that is intense. Its a different game because you have to be on the ball all the time. There is a new level of account management required. Its almost like 24hour service! Since I am online a lot I am a little wary of speaking to clients over MSN because you need time to do things and it can create a strange expectation of you always working on their business. I can imagine for account managers dedicated to one client this will work but when you manage multiple clients there needs to be some lines in the sand.

Here are my 5 tips for keeping out of trouble:

1. Choose a good profile picture – People when MSN’ng each other, especially in business look at that picture scrupulously. I suggest something personal but also quite business like is best. I tend to have a little message in my profile about something I am advocating in online marketing.

2. Manage your profiles status - You must manage your status if you are talking to clients with MSN. If you appear online all the time when you are actually away from your computer you can create quite a bit of agnst.

3. Use correct language - Just because you speak in shortnd sentnces w yr txt msgs dosnt mean u can when you are business MSN’ng. You can do it to some degree but you mustn’t go over board or you will miscommunicate with the client.

4. Less typing and more listening and waiting - Not every client you work with will be a complete speed typer. You must slow down your communication length slightly until you synchronise well with the clients speed of communication. Otherwise you will again fall into the trap of miscommunication.

5. Email or MSN? - Some things are better in an email and some are better as MSN. Sending a proposal to a client would probably best be done through MSN where as confirming a meeting could be done through MSN. Remember that MSN is instant and you dont want to stop someone and get their opinion of your proposal then and there. They need to set some time away, print it out potentially and read through it. They will not make the decision that you want them to pinging it to them and expecting an answer then and there.

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