We’re at an exciting point in time regarding business culture. People with many backgrounds and experiences are working together. Some team members are young – they have never worked at an in-person job and have always had a cell phone. Others are older and started working before laptop computers or the internet even existed. 

Some employees have only worked at big corporate companies, while others have been at startups. These people are now collaborating via the tiny camera on their computers. 

Variations make communication differences interesting to observe. You probably have coworkers who will only call you if there’s a scheduled meeting on your calendar. Others may send you an unplanned message asking if you have time to talk. Then there is a handful that will call with no notice. These differences are driven by multiple factors, including generation and work experience. 

Similarly, people have different habits when it comes to written communication. Some people prefer email, while others like Slack (messaging software). Within the email, there are distinct differences. Some are sent from one person to another. To reduce the number of replies, some emails will have recipients included as blind carbon copies (BCC). Others include many extra people as a carbon copy (CC) for informational purposes. 

Over the years, I’ve believed there is an inverse relationship between email and the company’s size. In other words, the smaller an organization is, the more recipients will be included in a single email. People at startups tend to copy many people at once. This keeps everyone up to date and is seen as more efficient. Within a large company, it’s more common to see email chains that include only the bare minimum number of people. The sender doesn’t want to involve anyone who doesn’t need to be on the email. 

The same trend seems to also be true in meetings between companies. A small company will bring many attendees to a meeting to show that the company is legitimate. A large company will send one or two representatives as the only contact points. 

No matter the venue, one thing hasn’t changed. Praise in public, and criticize in private. Calling someone out in a meeting in front of others does nothing but hurt your relationship with them. 

If you’re asking a colleague for something via email and aren’t getting the results you want, call them or email them directly. Don’t copy additional people. This is how it will likely feel, even if you aren’t trying to put them on the spot. No one wants their shortcomings to be pointed out in front of others. Adjust your approach, and you’ll get better results.

Angela Copeland career expert and founder of Copeland Coaching. copelandcoaching.com