Resources – Shirley’s Articles For Reprint

Are You Doing A Waltz Or Cha-Cha-Cha In Your Emails?

I’m so glad to have received a great response to my message recent article ‘Don’t write like a robot. Make a human difference’. You may remember that I compared two different emails, one that sounded like a robot, and another that sounded like a human being.

This week, let’s explore the different styles of communication throughout history. Whatever the era, it seems to me that communication has always been rather like a dance.

1919: The Waltz

In the first half of the 20th century, the wheels of commerce turned very slowly, so communication was a slow dance, rather like a waltz. People kept each other at a distance, they built relationships very slowly, as they moved around the dance floor… one two three, one two three, one two three.

And yes, when they wrote letters and memos, on their manual typewriters, they still danced the waltz, with their long sentences, formal language, and passive voice.

2019: The Cha-Cha-Cha

Today, we need to get to know people quickly, so we are more informal and friendly. Today our dance is like a cha-cha-cha. It’s lively, full of energy, a little playful… one two cha-cha-cha, one two cha-cha-cha, one two cha-cha-cha.

However, something strange happens when we put our fingers on our computer keyboard to write an email. Suddenly our writing becomes more formal, with passive voice, long sentences, and flowery words. We switch back to a waltz!

Today, many people have two voices – one voice for speaking and a different voice for writing. 

Let me share an example from a huge organisation I worked with in one of the most modern countries in the world – Singapore. Their aims were to stand out from the competition with a customer-friendly attitude that’s approachable, warm, and caring.

If you called their hotline, you may hear a recorded message saying, “Hey, we’re sorry, we’re on another call right now. Hang tight and we’ll be with you very soon.” But then… when they emailed customers, they were writing things like this:

This email sounds like something that could be written by a robot that’s programmed to perfection.

What’s happening in your organisation?

Are your emails like a cha-cha-cha? Do they sound like a human voice, friendly and warm, with everyday language and active voice?

Or are your emails more like a waltz? Do they sound like a robot, cold, formal and distant, very monotone and template?

In business today, we need to get things done quickly, we need to connect, build relationships and create trust. This will happen quicker with the human voice.

I would love to work with you and your organisation to bring back the human touch to all your communications. Let’s encourage all our teams to make a human difference. Check out my popular signature business writing programme here. I can customise this training specially for you and do this as half-day, one-day or two-day. Just let me know what works for you.

Let’s work together to make a human difference.

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© Shirley Taylor.
Shirley is a high-energy, high-content speaker who is passionate about motivating individuals to make a real difference in our automated world. With inspiring stories and a fun style, she engages audiences quickly, and encourages them to embrace high-touch as well as high-tech so they can connect with heart.

Shirley has been a trusted member of the professional speaking and training community for many years, and has received several awards for her services in leadership. She served as Asia Professional Speakers Singapore President 2011-12 and as Global Speakers Federation President 2017-18. She has spoken in almost 20 countries all over the world.

Author of 12 books published by international publishers, Shirley has established herself as a leading authority in workplace communication, business writing, and email. Her international bestseller Model Business Letters, Emails & Other Business Documents 7th edition has sold over half a million copies worldwide and been translated into 17 languages.

If you would like Shirley to speak at your next event, visit shirleytaylor.com.

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