Communication blocks and how to remove them: Better Emails 101
Updated: Feb 27
Given the endless opportunities and modes available to help us stay connected and communicate with our peers in the information age, it is surprising that we still sometimes fail to get the point across. Personal failings apart, the losses caused by barriers to effective communication in the work sphere can add to a pretty penny.
How to write a good email: 1. Write your email 2. Delete most of it 3. Send. - Dan Munz
Author David Grossman talks about the findings of a survey conducted among 400 companies with at least 100,000 employees in “The Cost Of Poor Communications.” About $62.4 million worth of revenue was reported to be lost per company: losses that could be attributed to poor communication. Altogether, the surveyed companies lost more than $24 billion. This is enough to get anyone thinking about communication blocks and how to tackle them.
The onus of developing effective communication skills rests not only with Human Resources to set the tone but also on each and every person hoping to make a mark in their chosen profession. While interpersonal skills matter in the real and virtual world, the COVID-19 pandemic, and its aftermath, are making communication skills in the virtual context ever-important.
In this blog series, we look at the two mainstays of remote work: Email and Zoom Calls, and talk about how to tear down barriers to effective communication in each of them.
Effective Business Emails:
Everyone would do well to remember that an email is like an arrow: impossible to recall, once shot. That said, here are our top 10 tips you can follow to craft highly effective emails.
Your subject line should be to-the-point and self-explanatory. Always add one as a [no subject] mystifies everyone.
Clarity is everything. Brevity too. Do not write stories where a summary will do.
Structure and formatting are just not done enough! Judicious use of spacing between lines, points, or paragraphs simplifies matters for the reader and promotes easy absorption of the content. Bullet points are another great way to structure an email.
Give a clear call to action. If your reader is none the wiser on how to proceed, the email's whole point is lost.
Be congenial as much as possible. Set and control the tone of your email yourself to avoid the possibility of your reader assuming (the wrong) one.
Go easy on the exclamation marks and skip the emojis altogether. It is easy for worlds to intersect, i.e. our texting habits to spill over into how we write our emails. It is healthy to remind ourselves once in a while, just what we are aiming at through the email.
The “oh-no-second” is that familiar moment of terror when you’ve hit “Send” on an email and realise you shouldn’t have! It’s more common than you think. At best, maybe you’ve forgotten an attachment and have to send another email, which is mildly embarrassing. At worst, you’ve started the workplace equivalent of a forest fire. Therefore read, proofread, deliberate, and be absolutely sure before you hit “Send.”
Never write an email when you are angry or frustrated: If you have to rein in your emotions and get your thoughts in order, always type it out in a Word document where it is impossible to send, even by accident.
Hit “reply all” only if you want every single recipient to know what it is you want to say. “Reply all” can lead to rambling discussions that might be relevant to only a small subset of people, but everyone has to endure or be distracted by, with no way to get out of it!
Last but certainly not least, never put anything in a work email that could lead to legal ramifications for your organisation. Never promise something you cannot deliver.
Our next blog will talk about fine-tuning communication on Zoom calls and the right way to use text messages. Read here.