Imagine a football coach communicating to his team, during the Super Bowl. The coach has no time to lose and needs to be precise and effective in his speech. A Few seconds can change it all if the players understand, with clarity, what they must do to win.
It is the same in business communication. Speed and clarity are no luxury. Consider that email is one of the most used forms of “talking” to your audience. And this same audience receives tons of email messages daily.
How effective is your email communication?
Like the football coach, you need to be precise in all aspects of your message: who you are talking to, what you want to communicate, why are you doing this and when things should happen. Without that, your team cannot win the game.
Use this quick guide to check the clarity of your email communication
Below I have listed a few things you can do to make sure your email communication stands out as the best so you can be as successful as possible. Enjoy!
Why are you writing the email?
If you are not sure why you are writing a specific email, stop right now. The first step is to have a clear reason to send an email message.
Sometimes an email is not the best option to communicate. But when it is and the receiver immediately understands why your message is in his/her inbox, you will get the attention you want.
Remember that the subject line is very important. Start there using few words. And be precise.
Are you waiting to receive a quick answer? Flag your message as Priority and include, “Urgent Action Needed.” Not so urgent? Write, “Important – action needed by this date (inform the day).” And of course, add the main topic from your message.
- “Urgent action needed by Friday Jan 17th: replace canceled products with new order.”
- “Important: deadline for system update in 2 weeks. Action needed before January, 27th.”
Now the main text. Go to the point and explain right at the beginning why you are sending the message.
Hope you are doing great.
This is a reminder that the system will be updated in 2 weeks and you need to confirm clients’ profiles before January 27th, otherwise information will be incorrectly overwritten.”
To whom are you writing?
Put yourself in the coach’s shoes. During halftime you want to talk to the entire team at the same time because all the players should listen to the same message, right?
You cannot act like that all the time. During any game or match you will choose key players and deliver the message to them only. If you try to talk to the whole team, it will be a mess. Some won’t listen, some won’t be clear on what you are expecting from each one of them and a few will think they don’t have to take action because others will.
When communicating by email, include only people that really need to receive the message. This will avoid miscommunication and a never ending email thread.
Finalize the message explaining who should contacted in case of doubts. In urgent messages that I need to send by email, I usually end with, “In case of doubt, please contact me by phone on the following number…”
How To Be SURE Your Email Communication Is Scoring Big
The Automatic Reminder is a great tool. A Few hours or days before the deadline, a message will pop up on the receiver screen to remind you that an action must be taken. (It works when both sender and receiver use the same software – for instance Outlook.)
In addition to that, on the main text I highlight the information I am expecting to receive and the deadline, in yellow or in bold letters. But remember, you just want to call attention to important information.
Don’t write all in capslock, like you were screaming. This is not polite.. Bold or highlight important info in a different color to make it stand out.
If you asked for information like sales by month, results per region or any other quantitative/qualitative data, I suggest to send a template attached. On the template, include exactly what you want, in an easy way for the receiver to fill in the data.
Don’t send heavy or complicated files. Again, go directly to the point. The template will make it easier for you as well if you need to compile information from different people later.
The Checklist Rundown
Check these criteria before sending an email:
- Is this email necessary?
- Is the Subject line is clear and complete?
- Did you explain why you are sending the message in the main text?
- Are you sending it only to the key players?
- In case of doubts, are you informing who the receiver needs to contact and how?
- Are you using an Automatic Reminder, color highlight, bold letters if necessary?
- Do you need to send attachments? Are there Templates to fill in?
- Are you writing more than necessary?
Was this quick guide was helpful to you or someone you know in the business world? If so, please share to your work group and friends.
Now I want to hear from you: do you have other tips for effective email communication? Please leave your comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for reading today!