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Minimize Email Misunderstandings

In the age of electronic communication, most businesses now depend on email messages for important customer, partner, and employee communication. In many cases, email messages have replaced the written letter. In all cases, how you compose an email message matters. That's why we have an online course called Email Writing That Counts!

Email communication is fired off quickly, is impersonal and often brief, all of which can lead to misunderstandings. When we talk to someone, we gather most of the key points of a message through voice, tone, and body language. You can make up for those missing pieces in email messages and lessen misunderstandings that can occur because important verbal and physical cues are lacking in email messages. Try these tips for improving email tone and accuracy:

  • Avoid waiting until the last minute to compose email messages. This gives you time to craft your message carefully and review it.

  • Outline all writing, even if briefly. Take a minute to outline your email message on paper or write it in Microsoft Word and then paste it into your email. This avoids the stream-of-consciousness tendency of quick email composition.

  • When reading over your message, check for more than typos and grammar; look for vague wording and double meaning. Keep your words as concise and clear as possible.

  • Make your main point clear in the subject line. This establishes your meaning before the reader even begins in the body of the message. Want a response from every recipient? Say so with “Meeting on 2019 Budget: Please Respond by Dec. 10.”

  • Be polite. Whether writing to subordinates or a board of directors, manners, and respect set the tone. Be sure to include appropriate phrases such as “thank you,” “appreciate,” “please,” and “kindly.” And if you’re writing to a customer, especially a disgruntled one, it’s particularly important to be polite and respectful.

  • Avoid text and tweet abbreviations. Even in informal emails, it’s best to avoid slang and shortcuts (such as BTW or as I’ll be back in my office @ 5 that day.”)

You can avoid expensive or customer service-wrecking misunderstandings by making sure you and your key employees know how to compose effective email messages. See all our online courses and webinars or call us (425-485-3221) about coaching services to improve your email effectiveness.

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