We should all write well.
It’s an attribute that we can all appreciate and value, but how many emails in your inbox reflect this universal sentiment? Well at Channelzero we say “Challenge accepted” and here’s why:
RESPECT FOR OTHERS: The better you write, the easier you make life for the people around you. Write well and busy people will read your emails.
PERCEPTION OF YOU: Slapdash comes across as slapdash, wordy as wordy, poor spelling and grammar as signs of ignorance or sloppiness.
If we had walked into any office in the 1940’s and 50’s most communication was conducted via written memos.
By the time the 60’s rolled around business was conducted over the phone. Meanwhile our written communication skills took a back seat. Now, come 2015 business is back to the written word through a plethora of emails. So, it is more important than ever to get our messages across swiftly and accurately.
Follow the rules below and start kicking goals!
BE CONCISE – “veni, vidi, vici” Use short paragraphs, short sentences and short words.
When writing anything more than a few paragraphs, start by telling the reader where you are going.
BE SPECIFIC - DON’T MUMBLE
Decide what you want to say, then come out and say it. Mumblers command less attention than those who are assertive.
There must be absolutely no doubt in the readers mind exactly what you want from them.
MAKE THE SUBJECT CLEAR AND COMPELLING
Don’t rely on the urgent flag – it’s like the boy who cried wolf.
The subject line is especially important when there are a group of recipients. It is annoying to find after three paragraphs that the content has no value for you.
MAKE IT PERFECT
If there are mistakes spotted by your reader (no matter how small) the reader will justifiably question how much you care.
a) Punctuate Carefully
Use punctuation as your road signs, making sure that your reader navigates your sentences correctly.
Woman without her man has no reason for living
Woman: without her, man has no reason for living
b) Beware of Spell Check
Proofread and proofread again… Spell check is smart, but it can auto-correct without asking.
When you are done, ask yourself whether you would take action on the basis of what’s written.
BE CAREFUL WITH HUMOUR AND ANGER
Avoid being funny in emails unless you are 100% sure that your reader will get the joke.
Avoid irony and sarcasm. Somebody will take it straight. People can brood over innocently intended witticisms.
Never write to let off steam. Write only to get something done, such as your money back or a mistake rectified. Cool and lucid statements of fact will get better results than anger in correspondence.
Never be defensive. Intelligent people are good at detecting irritability, so be forthright and direct and at least as courteous on paper as you would be in person.
Bold headings allow those cc’d on your emails to stay across the content by skimming.
State your recommendations clearly – tell your readers what steps you propose to take. This provokes thought and thought provokes actions. This will make your emails effective.
And there you have it!