The point of communication is to stop it – especially business-related email and phone calls. The average office worker sends or receives 121 emails a day, according to a report by technology market research firm the Radicati Group. That’s just not necessary. Give yourself a message makeover so that you never prolong a conversation that doesn’t need to be prolonged again.
Don’t be the business equivalent of that acquaintance you have who every time you see him says, “We should have lunch.” You both know that if he wanted to have lunch with you he would choose a date. And don’t be the business equivalent of the friend or relative who leaves messages on your home phone saying, “Call me when you have time.” I mean, define having time please. The next day I expect to have free time is April 19. Do you think the caller is really prepared to wait nine days for my return call?
Be clear in your communication. End the email chains. Stop the phone tag. Here are three examples of emails I received today, and ways to make them over:
1. “We should have a call to discuss” No! Try, “Can I call you tomorrow between 12 and 2 to discuss?”
2. “We should probably schedule a time soon to walk through (the details).” No! Try, “Are you free Monday or Tuesday before noon? We need to review the logistics. I will email you a list and we can review it on our call.”
3. “A phone call Wednesday sounds great. I love the phone.” No. No. No. Instead answer the questions: What time on Wednesday? And what time zone (per the original email request)?
As our CEO Lee Caraher says, “For the Love of God STOP IT!.”
And while you’re making over your emails, here are Lee’s four steps to make sure your email is always opened:
- The person you are emailing probably has NO IDEA why you’re emailing – so use your subject line to give people a clue about what they are about to read AND lay the whole reason for the email out in the first two lines of the email.
- Give explicit instructions and deadlines including FYI if appropriate so the person knows exactly what to do by when, or that it’s background and does not require action
- Be sufficiently formal. Hi, Dear, Hello, Best Regards, Regards, Sincerely — all good. ‘Sup, Yo, Dude, Laters, Peace Out – all bad.
- Run Spell Check.
Got it? Good. I will stop now.