In the conditions of remote work, the importance of the quality of written communication increases. Firstly, e-mail does not convey emotions as much as personal meeting. Secondly, there is no way to give explanations online. Thirdly, you will not be able to see the reaction of a vis-à-vis.
To avoid misunderstandings in your written communication, I suggest following the next 7 rules:
- Subject line. The book begins with the title. An e-mail with a heading. Perhaps your addressee receives a lot of e-mails a day. Make the subject line as short and succinct as possible. You have to fit the whole idea of your text in 30-40 characters. Approximately as many characters fit into the subject line with the most common vertical arrangement of windows in the mail client. Good examples of the title:
– New training “Written communications”
– Availability of products in stock
– A new colleague
- Action in the heading. If your e-mail is really very important, put “IMPORTANT!” or “URGENT!” before the heading. If you just want to inform, then “For information”, if some action is needed, then “Your action is needed”. Good heading examples:
– Take a new training “Written communication”
– Important! Check the availability of products in the warehouse
– Let’s welcome a new colleague
- Logline. A logline is the shortest possible retelling of the content of your script, using the minimum number of words, while it should arouse the reader’s interest.
At the same time, it is usually added that the number of words in the logline should not exceed 25. But this is not accurate. For example, when you search for a movie on Netflix’s, brief descriptions of what the movie is about appear. The more obscure the description, the less likely you are to decide to watch it. You can read how to write a logline in this article.
In the business world, it is customary to be able to tell even the most complex project/ idea in 30 seconds. Perhaps that’s how much a potential investor, partner or client will give you to describe the idea. If your e-mail consists of a monotonous long narrative, it may not have a chance to be read. Describe your idea in one paragraph. Reread it or let others read it. If you can get the point of the message in the logline, let’s move on to the story.
- Story. When you begin the narrative, decide on the type of logical structure: deductive or inductive way of presenting information. If you look at the pictures that my daughter has prepared for you, then one shows an Indian, the other shows a dad. Well, at least I gave her such a technical task. These pictures should help us remember two ways by using analogies.
Induction and deduction
The inductive method (Indian) – from the particular to the general. If you look at the picture, then improvised feathers descend on the Indian’s head. Like small facts, they lead the listener to a conclusion/idea.
For example. Arguments: 1. It’s sunny and warm today. 2. It’s a day off, and I have free time. 3. I really want physical activity after a working week. Idea: So I decided to ride a bike
Deductive method (dad) – from the general to the particular. In the image of the dad, we see that he has an idea, which then turns into a thick beard.
For example: I want to go on a bike ride, because my arguments are as follows: 1. It’s sunny and warm today. 2. It’s a day off and I have free time. 3. I really want physical activity after a working week.
ATTENTION! The main thing is not to allow mixing of these two approaches. It is very important. I call this error the “dadoinductive” method.
For example: 1. It’s sunny and warm today. I want to go cycling, because 2. It’s a day off, and I have free time. 3. I really want physical activity after a working week.
Such a mixture of the general and the particular can make it difficult to understand.
Andragogy (the science of teaching adults) says that adults prefer the deductive method (dad) or from the general to the particular. In other words, tell the essence of the idea, then give arguments.
- Brevity. How do you feel if you have received a life-long e-mail from a colleague. And what if you received 100 such letters, and even with the headings “Important!”, “Urgent!” or worse “X&83>6?%!!!”? Respect the time of others. Write briefly, like Hemingway, who bet he can touch the reader by a 6-word story. And he did it! “Ad: children’s shoes for sale, unworn.” Writing short is much more difficult than writing long letters. Practice brevity, remove unnecessary details, weak arguments and ordinary facts. This way you can get more out of your emails.
- Highlight the main thing. It is considered good form if you highlight the really important parts of the letter in bold. For example, it can be deadlines, responsible people, appeals to someone from a large group in the middle of a letter. Excessive highlighting in font and colours, WRITING WHOLE SENTENCES in CAPITAL LETTERS and using numerous exclamation marks can be bad form!!!!!!! Spelling is another important thing. It is better not to write at all than to write a letter with mistakes.
- Conclusion. Finish your letter with a thank you and a wish. If the reader has reached this stage of reading, then first of all, you are well done! But what a good fellow your addressee is. Thank them for the real contribution of the person/ team to a specific case. For example: “Thank you very much for your comments!” or “Thank you for the prompt response!” Write a wish: “Have a good weekend!”. And sign your letter with your name. Yes, technology has already left us no chance to be anonymous, but the signature of the name of the author of the letter is still considered good form.
Thank you for your attention. Have a great holidays, dear readers!