Too often, we do things in our business lives that are driven by our needs, as opposed to the needs of others. The obvious example is when we build products no one really wants. The same is true for communication, and the way we interact with our colleagues. We don't always think about how our messages will be received.

The numbers are in, and mobile technology has changed the way we do most of our daily activities. Business is no different. I am an edge case, but I do 99 percent of my work on my mobile phone. Excel sheets, press releases -- I may or may not even be writing these words on my phone. Even if most people are not like me, the fact remains that we are consuming more and more content on mobile and less and less on desktop.

This should change how you communicate with colleagues, clients, investors, and everyone you contact in a business context. You'll need to adapt your communication to be received on a mobile device. Here are a few cases in which that's particularly important.

1. Open your resume on mobile before sending it out.

Listen, I am not saying that every recruiter is looking at your resume on mobile, but some might be, and you need to take those people into account. Some HR systems require Microsoft Word files, but as a rule of thumb, a PDF will almost always look cleaner than a Word document, especially on mobile.

If your resume is one page and two additional lines, perhaps you should consider condensing it so it is a clean one page. Those two lines might seem insignificant to you, but to the person reviewing it, it means another swipe -- which, again, might seem insignificant, but statistics show that the more you make someone work to read something, the less chances that they will actually read it.

Putting it another way, that person reading your resume only needs one reason to say no to you. Don't make your resume be that one. Format it properly so it looks and reads nicely on mobile.

2. Know that investors are most likely looking at your deck during breakfast.

This might sound far-fetched to you, but I have personally heard from plenty of investors that they are often reviewing the hundreds of investor decks they receive daily while they are on-the-go, which means one thing: mobile.

Keep your deck short, clear, well-designed, and easy to consume. The goal of an investor deck is to make a killer first impression and get that initial meeting. If you can't design the deck to fit the needs of the investor you are pitching, then what does that say about your ability to build a product the market wants? 

Do not, by any means, send an investor a deck in PowerPoint format or in any other format besides PDF. This keeps it clean and easy to read when on mobile.

3. Format your emails so they can be consumed easily.

Of course, despite all the hip messaging apps promising to replace email, email is still here and not going anywhere anytime soon. So if you are writing someone a business email, remember that there is a 95 percent chance they are reading it on mobile.

Not that this was justifiable before mobile took over, but now, in 2020, there is zero justification for writing a 500-word email. Keep your emails short, make sure the fonts are consistent, state your ask early on, and take the recipient into account as you draft the email.

An email that requires the recipient to work hard in order to understand the topic or the ask is an email that will not accomplish its goal.

Like everything we do in business, communication should be done from the ground up, taking the other person's needs into account, before thinking of your own. This means shifting to a mobile-first approach.

Published on: Dec 31, 2019
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