I recently received a letter from my insurance company, and spent the better part of an hour attempting to decipher what they were saying. The two page letter was filled with run-on sentences, duplicate information, confusing instructions, and barely any white space. I ended up calling their support line to get clarity on what my next steps should be. What a time waster!
How much time do we waste at work sending and receiving poorly constructed emails that lack clarity? Not only does it take more time to understand what the sender is asking for, it also can cause confusion and impede getting the information needed to progress in your tasks and projects.
We also need to consider tone when sending an email, especially if you are a manager. We all have likely received an email that left us feeling like we did something wrong, when it was simply a matter of poor wording. A simple phrase can miscommunicate the intention and tone of the sender, causing undue stress, anxiety and confusion - and destroying psychological safety.
Clear and concise communication is essential for creating a high performing team. Understanding when to send an email vs. communicating in person, knowing how to construct an effective email that provides clarity on the ask of the recipient, and conveying the proper emotions are key skills we all must continually work on..
Let’s all work smarter together!
Clear and concise communication is essential for creating a high performing team.
“Email is more than just the transmission of information. It is about managing a relationship remotely”. So much of our in-person communication is about the nonverbal signals we are sending to each other. To build and maintain trust and psychological safety, it’s integral to project the appropriate tone in your email.
HBR shares several great tips on how to write a better email, including why you should lead with your ask, why your reply might include a summary, and how to manage recipients of the email.