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Is Your Email Sending The Right Message?

I’m sure some of us kick-start the day with a morning jog or a cup of coffee, but when we get to work, one of the first things we do is check our email. This seems an essential step in setting our pace for the rest of the day.

Even though it has become an integral part of most people’s world, email can sometimes be the most misconstrued form of communication. When you speak face-to-face with someone, different parts of your brain separate it into words and ‘melody’ to understand the intonation, mood, emotion, etc.

However, your brain can’t do the same when you are reading words on a screen, because often, the underlying messages can get lost or be misinterpreted. This is why, whether you are writing in a personal and professional setting, it’s really vital to pay attention to both the words you use and the way those words may be construed by the reader.

The more emails you write, you will hopefully start to become wiser and you can chart your own growth. By reflecting on what worked well and what didn’t, you will begin to understand how best to express your ideas in a way that the reader understands and gets the best results.

Different ways of saying the same thing

Naturally, our brains register words and phrases differently, and this could in turn set off emotional triggers in the reader. This is why writing in a business context requires careful consideration and effort, in case the words we choose send off the wrong signals and message.

Here are some examples of how you can send different messages:

“I’m swamped right now. I can’t talk.”

vs.

“I’m sorry but I’m busy at the moment. Could we speak tomorrow morning instead?”

“That draft proposal is so confusing. Let’s talk and get them fixed.”

vs.

“I have some questions about your draft. When can we discuss this?”

Positivity feeds productivity

Negative words and undertones may leave a sour taste in your readers’ minds, which may take some time to put right. Changing your writing habits and style will take time and effort, but once you’ve learnt some key rules and tools, the benefits and rewards will be great. You’ll save time, you’ll save your reader’s time, your reader will understand and you’ll get the right response, and, perhaps more importantly, you’ll cut down all the ‘email ping-pong’ that goes on right now in many mailboxes! Yes, you know what I mean!

Good writing sets you apart

Learning more about good business writing will help to set you apart, make a great impression, get work done successfully and build a strong business. It will also make you a great asset in any workspace. And the best time to start is now!

 

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© 2013 Shirley Taylor.
Shirley Taylor is a recognised leading authority on business writing and communication skills. For almost 30 years she has presented keynotes and training programmes that help people and organisations boost communication skills and develop great relationships both orally and in writing. Shirley is bestselling author of 12 books, including Model Business Letters, Emails and Other Business Documents, which has sold half a million copies worldwide and has been translated into many languages. If you would like Shirley to speak at your next event, visit www.shirleytaylor.com.

** The above website link to www.shirleytaylor.com must be clickable to receive permission to reprint the article.