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A quick guide how to write effective e-mails that the reader will read and will reply to.

A quick guide how to write effective e-mails that the reader will read and will reply to.
Tops and Tips on how to succeed in your e-mail communication.

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E mail communication Presentation Transcript

  • 1. TOPS & TIPSTOPS & TIPS FOR …FOR … PART OF “WRITTEN COMMUNICATION SKILLS”
  • 2. WE ARE ALL BUSY, AND WE’VE ALL RECEIVED LONG, AMBIGUOUS AND RAMBLING EMAILS. IRONICALLY, MOST OF US HAVE ALSO BEEN GUILTY OF WRITING SUCH VERBOSE EMAIL WHILE REQUESTING FOR SOMEONE ELSE’S TIME AND NERVES. TO MAKE OBVIOUS WHAT KIND OF E-MAIL WORKS, AND WHICH DOTO MAKE OBVIOUS WHAT KIND OF E-MAIL WORKS, AND WHICH DO NOT WORK, WE WILL DISCUSS SOME INTERESTING AND USEFULNOT WORK, WE WILL DISCUSS SOME INTERESTING AND USEFUL OBSERVATIONS ON EFFECTIVE EMAIL COMMUNICATION….OBSERVATIONS ON EFFECTIVE EMAIL COMMUNICATION…. PARTICULARLY:PARTICULARLY: -WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN EMAILING SOMEONE (THAT WE DON’T KNOW PERSONALLY) -HOW TO WRITEHOW TO WRITE EMAIL THAT PEOPLE WILL ACTUALLY (WANT TO )ACTUALLY (WANT TO ) READREAD
  • 3. ASSUMPTIONS •THE RECIPIENT (PERSON YOU ARE EMAILING) POTENTIALLY GETS A LOT OF EMAILS. •YOU NEEDYOU NEED SOMETHING FROM THE RECIPIENT AND PLANPLAN ON PITCHING IT VIAVIA EMAIL •YOU EITHER DO NOT KNOW THE RECIPIENT PERSONALLY, OR HE/SHE IS AN ACQUAINTANCE OR BUSINESS PARTY, OR HE/SHE IS A CLOSE FRIEND…. Before we dive in, let’s lay out some…
  • 4. OUR GOAL IS… TO CONSTRUCT EMAILS THAT: • WILL ACTUALLY BE READ • WILL ACTUALLY BE UNDERSTOOD • WILL NOT ANNOY THE RECEIVER • DOES NOT TAKE UP TOO MUCH TIME ON THE RECEIVER’S END.
  • 5.  Gets a lot of email.  May receive compliments regularly, if they are a public figure.  Regularly gets asked a standard set of questions and favors.  Does not have a lot of free time.  Does not mind helping you, if it is fast. EMAIL PSYCHOLOGY GENERALLY SPEAKING, THE SENDER AND RECEIVER SEE THINGS FROM DRASTICALLYDRASTICALLY DIFFERENTDIFFERENT POINTS OF VIEWS. !!! AND FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF A SENDER, WE OFTEN DO NOT SPEND TIME UNDERSTANDING  Spends a long time crafting the ‘perfect’ (-ly long) email.  Believes that their request is original, unique, and special.  Believes that they are the first to ask for such favors.  Cannot imagine why anyone would turn them away.  Desires to tell the whole story, explained from every angle, so that the listener can understand their point of view.
  • 6. NOW, PUTTING OURSELVES IN THE PERSPECTIVE OF A RECEIVER (AND WE HAVE ALL BEENTHERE MANY TIMES). WHEN WE ARE FACED WITH GOING THROUGH AN INBOX FULL OF EMAIL – COMING BACK FROM A LONG WEEKEND OR VACATION, WE HAVE SO ME NATURAL HABITS THAT ARE WO RTH NO TING: • WE TEND TO ANSWER, OR BE DRAWN TO EMAILS THAT ARE THE FASTEST TO ANSWER OR PROCESS. * THAT MEANS EMAILS THAT REQUIRE VERY LITTLE WO RK O R THO UGHT. • WHEN WE OPEN AN EMAIL THAT IS VERY LONG, OUR “GUT REACTION” IS TO CLOSE THE EMAIL, OR COME BACK TO IT LATER WHEN WE MIGHT HAVE MORE TIME. * WE MAY FLAG IT FO R LATER • WHEN WE RECEIVE AN EMAIL FROM SOMEONE WANTING SOMETHING FROM US, WANTING US TO BUY SOMETHING, OR WANTING OUR TIME, WE INSTANTLY FEEL GUARDED AND WILL AUTOMATICALLY WANT TO SAY NO, EVEN IF THE ACT WILL BENEFIT US IN REALITY. • WE GO THROUGH EMAIL WHILE ASKING “WHAT’S THE POINT?”
  • 7. DIFFERENT PEOPLE – DIFFERENT EMAIL TYPESTYPES… • SELF FULFILLING EMAIL – THE EMAIL ITSELF IS THE POINT. YOU WANT TO TELL THE RECEIVER SOMETHING, EITHER A COMPLIMENT OR INFORMATION. NO REPLY IS NECESSARY INTHIS CASE. • INQUIRIES - YOU NEED SOMETHING FROM THE RECEIVER IN THE FORM OF A REPLY. FOR EXAMPLE, ADVICE, OR QUESTIONS ANSWERED. THE REPLY IS YO UR DESIRED O UTCO ME. • OPEN-ENDEDDIALOG – TO KEEP CO MMUNICATIO NLINES O PEN, FOR THE PURPOSE OF SOME FUTURE RESULT OR BENEFIT. • ACTION EMAILS – THE GOAL IS NOT THE REPLY, BUT SO ME ACTIO NON THE PART OF THE RECEIVER.
  • 8. WITH SUCH DIVERGENT PERSPECTIVES, IT’S NO WONDER RECEIVERS RECEIVE THE KINDS OF EMAIL THAT THEY DO, AND THAT SENDERS ARE WONDERING WHY THEIR EMAILS ISN’T EFFECTIVE OR EAGERLY RESPONDED TO.Sounds complicated? Lets tune-up a bit!
  • 9. • 1. THE SUBJECT LINE ALWAYS HAVE A SUBJECT LINE THAT SUMMARIZES BRIEFLY AND CLEARLY THE CONTENTS OF THE MESSAGE. FO R EXAMPLE, RE: SUMMARY OF O UR MEETING WITH … ABC… SUPPLIERS. • 2. SHORT ANDSIMPLE SENTENCES USE SHORT AND EASY SENTENCES. LONG SENTENCES CAN OFTEN BE DIFFICULT TO READ AND UNDERSTAND. THE MOST COMMON MISTAKE THAT CAN BE MADE IS TO TRANSLATE DIRECTLY FROM OUR OWN LANGUAGE. THIS CAN OFTEN LEAD TO CONFUSING SENTENCES. ALWAYS USE THE KISS TEST – KEEP IT SHORT AND SIMPLE • 3. THINKOF WHO YOURREADERIS GOING TO BE - IS IT A COLLEAGUE, A CLIENT OR YOUR BOSS? - SHOULD THE EMAIL BE INFORMAL OR FORMAL? * MOST BUSINESS EMAILS THESE DAYS HAVE A NEUTRAL TONE * - NOTE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN INFORMAL AND FORMAL:  INFORMAL – THANKS FO R THE EMAIL O F 1 5 FEBRUARY FORMAL – THANKYO UFOR YO UR EMAIL RECEIVED 1 5 FEBRUARY  INFORMAL – SORRY, ICAN’T MAKE IT. FORMAL – IAMAFRAID IWILL NO T BE ABLE TO ATTEND  INFORMAL – CO ULD YO U… ? FORMAL – IWAS WONDERING IFYO UCO ULD… . ? SOME EMAILS TO COLLEAGUES CAN BE INFORMAL IF THEY ARE FRIENDS. THIS IS THE STYLE THAT IS CLOSEST TO SPEECH, SO THERE ARE OFTEN EVERYDAY WORDS AND CONVERSATIONAL EXPRESSIONS THAT CAN BE USED. FO R INSTANCE, ‘DO N’T FO RGET’, ‘CATCH YO ULATER’, ‘CHEERS’.
  • 10. • 4. BE VERY CAREFUL OF CAPITAL LETTERS, PUNCTUATION, SPELLINGANDBASIC GRAMMAR. • THE READER WILL ALSO ACCEPT BAD GRAMMAR IN INFORMAL EMAILS. HOWEVER, IF THE EMAIL IS GOING TO A CLIENT OR SENIOR COLLEAGUE, BAD GRAMMAR AND AN OVER-FRIENDLY STYLE WILL NOT BE ACCEPTABLE. • 5. THINKABOUT HOWDIRECT ORINDIRECT YOU WANT TOBE. • IN SOME CULTURES IT IS COMMON PRACTICE TO BE VERY DIRECT IN EMAIL CORRESPONDENCE. HOWEVER, THIS CAN CAUSE A PROBLEM IF YOU’RE WRITING TO SOMEONE IN ANOTHER COUNTRY AND IN A LANGUAGE THAT IS NOT YOURS. THEY MIGHT FIND YOUR DIRECTNESS RUDE AND EVEN SOMETIMES OFFENSIVE. • CONSIDER THESE APPROACHES: DIRECT – INEED THIS INHALFANHO UR. INDIRECT AND POLITE – WO ULD IT BE PO SSIBLE TO HAVE THIS INTHE NEXT HALFANHO UR? DIRECT – THERE WILL BE ADELAY INDIRECT – I’MAFRAID THERE WILL BE ASLIGHT DELAY. DIRECT – IT’S ABAD IDEA INDIRECT – TO BE HO NEST, I’MNO T SURE IT WO ULD BE AGO O D IDEA. • BY ADJUSTING YOUR “TONE”, YOU ARE MORE LIKELY TO GET A MORE POSITIVE RESPONSE FROM YOUR READER.
  • 11. • 6. BE POSITIVE! LOOK AT THESE WORDS: HELPFUL, GO O D QUESTIO N,HELPFUL, GO O D QUESTIO N, AGREED, TO GETHER, USEFUL, I’D BE DELIGHTED, MUTUAL,AGREED, TO GETHER, USEFUL, I’D BE DELIGHTED, MUTUAL, O PPO RTUNITY.O PPO RTUNITY. NOW LOOK AT THESE: BUSY, CRISIS, FAILURE, FO RGET IT,BUSY, CRISIS, FAILURE, FO RGET IT, ICAN’T, IT’S IMPO SSIBLE, WASTE, HARDICAN’T, IT’S IMPO SSIBLE, WASTE, HARD THE WORDS YOU USE SHOW YOUR ATTITUDE TO LIFE AND YOUR WORK, SOTHE WORDS YOU USE SHOW YOUR ATTITUDE TO LIFE AND YOUR WORK, SO CHO O SECHO O SE YOURYOUR WORDSWORDS WISELYWISELY.. 7. GET FEEDBACK. • TRY AND GET SOME FEEDBACK ON THE EMAILS THAT YOU WRITE IN REAL LIFE. THIS CO ULD BE FRO MYO UR CO LLEAGUES O R SO MEO NE YO UKNO W WHO SE “O THER” LANGUAGE IS NO T WO RSE THANYO URS. • STUDY THE LANGUAGE IN THE EMAILS YOU RECEIVE. IF IT IS A WELL-WRITTEN EMAIL, LOOK CAREFULLY AT SOME OF THE LANGUAGE USED. • START YOUR OWN PHRASE BOOK AND BUILD A BANK OF PHRASES FROM THE ONES YOU RECEIVE AND THINK WOULD BE USEFUL IN THE FUTURE. (WING-WING )
  • 12. VERB- to provide, supply, rig out, furnish, outfit, typically something to be done in a professional capacity. HOW TO…? • 1. DETERMINE YOURDESIREDOUTCOMEDETERMINE YOURDESIREDOUTCOME  • TOPS  MOST PEOPLE KNOW ROUGHLY WHAT THEY WANT, BUT DO NOT TAKE THE TIME TO CLEARLY THINK IT THROUGH. THIS IS HOW WE END UP WITH AMBIGUOUS OR RAMBLING EMAIL. WITHOUT A CLEAR UNDERSTANDING OF OUR DESIRED END RESULTS, OUR THOUGHTS ARE DISORGANIZED AND WE CAN EASILY CONFUSE THE RECEIVER. • TIPS  THE CLEARER YOUR INTENTION IS, THE MORE FOCUSED YOU WILL BE, THE BETTER YOU CAN CATER () EMAIL FOR THE INTENDED RESULT, THE MORE LIKELY YOU WILL GET YOUR DESIRED OUTCOME.
  • 13. 2. QUICKLY ANSWER“WHAT’S THE POINT?” TOPSTOPS  PEOPLE WANT TO KNOW “WHAT DO YOU NEED FROM ME?” TIPSTIPS  ANSWER THIS QUESTION QUICKLY. SKIP LONG INTRODUCTIONS, BACKGROUNDS, COMPLIMENTS AND DETAILS.  JUMP TO THE POINT. STATE IT CLEARLY USING MINIMAL WORDS.STATE IT CLEARLY USING MINIMAL WORDS.  IF ACTION IS NEEDED, MAKE IT CLEAR WHAT THE DESIRED ACTION IS FROM THE RECIPIENT. (NOTE – NOT EXPECTED – DESIRED!!!)  IF NO ACTION OR REPLY IS EXPECTED, SAY THAT “NO REPLY NECESSARY.” IT’LL BE LIKE MUSIC TO THEIR EARS AND THEY WILL BE HAPPY TO DO WHAT YOU DESIRED FROM THEM.
  • 14. 3. STATE BENEFITS CLEARLY TOPSTOPS  SAY WHAT YOU NEED TO SAY, AND MOVE ON. IF YOUR BIG IDEA ISN’T IN THE FIRST PARAGRAPH, MOVE IT THERE. IF YOU CAN’T FIND IT, REWRITE THE MAIL !!! TIPSTIPS  MAKE SURE IT INCLUDES MANY CLEARLY STATED, EASILY UNDERSTOOD “BENEFITS” FOR THE RECEIVER. TOPSTOPS  MANY EMAILS FOCUS SOLELY ON THE SENDER AND WHY THE ACTION WILL BENEFIT THE SENDER. IF YOU DON’T PRESENT INCENTIVES, OR THEY ARE DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND, THE RECEIVER WILL SAY NO – RESULTING IN A WASTE OF TIME FOR BOTH. TIPSTIPS  MAKE SURE THE INCENTIVES ARE REALISTIC, THE EXCHANGE IS FAIR, AND THERE TRULY ARE BENEFITS TO THE RECEIVER.  DO YOUR HOMEWORK BEFORE CONTACTING SOMEONE. PUT YOURSELF IN THEIR
  • 15. KISS = Keep it simple, stupid (Ididn’t co m e up with this ) 4. REMEMBERTO KISS TOPSTOPS  WHEN WE SEND OUT A LONG EMAIL ASKING FOR SOMETHING FROM THE RECEIVER (TIME, FAVOR, RESPONSE, ETC), WE ARE ESSENTIALLY SAYING “I DO NOT RESPECT YOUR“I DO NOT RESPECT YOUR TIME.”TIME.” TIPSTIPS  SHOW THEM YOU APPRECIATE THEIR TIME, BY MAKING EMAIL SHORT, AND SIMPLE TO ANSWER.  USING AS FEW WORDS AS POSSIBLE, INTRODUCE WHO YOU ARE, CONTEXT IF NECESSARY, AND WHY YOU ARE EMAILING, GO STRAIGHT TO THE POINT. TOPSTOPS  BEING BRIEF DOESN’T MEAN WE HAVE TO BE BORING. TIPSTIPS  WE CAN BE CREATIVE WITH OUR WORDING, ADD A DASH OF PERSONALITY WHERE YOU SEE FIT, BUT STILL BE BRIEF. TOPSTOPS  INSTEAD OF MENTIONING “THE CURRENT SITUATIO N”
  • 16. MORE TIPS TO KISS… • USE SIMPLE, CLEAR, PRECISE LANGUAGE AND FOLLOW A FEW OTHER BASIC WRITING RULES THAT’S HOW YOU BECOME A BETTER COMMUNICATOR AND YOU WILL IMPROVE YOUR BUSINESS MANNERS. • DO NOT USE BIG $10 WORDS BECAUSE YOU WANT TO SOUND INTELLIGENT. INSTEAD, YOU WILL END UP SOUNDING LIKE YOU ARE TRYING TOO HARD. • USE SHORT, DECLARATIVE SENTENCES. NEVER USE A LONG WORD WHERE A SHORT ONE WILL DO. (NO NEED TO WRITE “UTILIZE” WHEN“USE” WO RKS JUST AS WELL. ) BE RUTHLESS ABOUT SELF-EDITING, IF YOU DON’T NEED A WORD, CUT IT. • NEVER USE A FOREIGN PHRASE, A SCIENTIFIC WORD, OR ANY KIND OF JARGON IF YOU CAN THINK OF AN ENGLISH EQUIVALENT. REGARDLESS O F HO W MANY TIMES YO UR MANAGERS ASKYO U TO “CIRCLE BACK, ” O R “MO VE THE NEEDLE FO RWARD, ” TAKE ASTANCE AG AINST PAINFUL BUSINESS JARG O N. THESE EXPRESSIO NS MAY SO UND IMPO RTANT TO YO U, BUT THEY MAKE NO SENSE TO O THERS. • AVOID OVERUSING EXCLAMATION POINTS, REGARDLESS OF HOW ENERGIZED OR FRIENDLY
  • 17. TIPS ON GRAMMAR KISS… • WHENEVER POSSIBLE, USE ACTIVE VERBS INSTEAD OF PASSIVE VERBS. ACTIVE VERBS HELP TO ENERGIZE YOUR PROSE. INSTEAD O F WRITING “THE MEETING WAS LED BY TO M, ” WRITE: “TO M LED THE MEETING. ” • USE A STRAIGHTFORWARD SENTENCE STRUCTURE – SUBJECT, VERB, OBJECT (ALSO KNOWS AS SUBJECT – VERB AGREEMENT) – THAT PEOPLE CAN READ QUICKLY. • MATCH YOUR SUBJECT TO YOUR PRONOUN AND VERB – SOUNDS OBVIOUS, BUT MOST OFTEN PEOPLE IS GETTING IT WRONG – THE NUMBER O F THE SUBJECT (SING ULAR O R PLURAL) DETERMINES THE NUMBER O F THE VERB. • USE A SINGULAR VERB FORM AND PRONOUN AFTER – NOBODY, SOMEONE, EVERYBODY, NEITHER, EVERYONE, EACH, EITHER. • LIMIT THE USE OF ADVERBS, USE A STRONG VERB INSTEAD OF A WEAK VERB. INSTEAD O F WRITING “O RDERS GREW QUICKLY, ” TRY “O RDERS ACCELERATED. ” • KNOW WHEN TO USE “THAT” AND “WHICH” – •
  • 18. 5. SAVE THE WHOLE STORY – STICKTO THE FACTS. TOPSTOPS  PEOPLE TEND TO SAY TOO MUCH IN EMAIL. WE FEEL COMPELLED TO DESCRIBE ALL THE DETAILS AND DISCLOSE THE WHOLE OF OUR EXISTENCE SO THAT THE RECEIVER CAN UNDERSTAND THE WHOLE PICTURE. TIPSTIPS  UNLESS YOU ALREADY KNOW THIS PERSON WELL, THEY REALLY DON’T CARE.  UNLESS ASKED, YOU DON’T NEED TO OVERLY ELABORATE ANYTHING.  SIMPLY STICK TO THE FACTS – IT’LL HELP YOU KEEP YOUR MESSAGE SHORT.
  • 19. 6. PRETENDFACE-TO-FACE INTRO TOPSTOPS  IF YOU HAVEN’T MET SOMEONE OR THIS ONE IS A BUSINESS PARTY, WOULD YOU OPEN YOUR MOUTH FIRST AND GIVE THEM A RAMBLING STORY ABOUT YOUR LIFE? PROBABLY NOT. TYPICALLY, WE CLOSE OUR MOUTH AFTER A QUICK INTRO. TIPSTIPS  IN EMAIL, STOPPING TALKING IS EQUIVALENT TO HITTING THE SEND BUTTON.  TREATING EMAIL INTRODUCTIONS AS IF YOU ARE MEETING THEM IN PERSON IS ANOTHER TRICK TO KEEPING MESSAGES SHORT.
  • 20. 7. THE TEXT MESSAGE TRICK TOPSTOPS  WHEN WE ARE ON MOBILE DEVICES LIKE THE BLACKBERRY OR OUR CELL PHONES, WE LACK THE FLUIDITY OF THE COMPUTER KEYBOARD, AND AS SUCH, WE GET TO THE POINT REALLY FAST. TIPSTIPS  NOW, PRETEND YOU’RE ON A MOBILE DEVICE, WHAT WOULD YOUR MESSAGE BE NOW?  SHORT SENTENCES,  CLEAR VERBS,  STRAIGHT TO THE POINT,  NOT DETAILED, BUT STILL EXPLANATORY ENOUGH,  NO EXCESSIVE COMPLIMENTS,  ENOUGH PERSONAL AND PERSONABLE,  EASY TO BE FOUND.
  • 21. 8. HOW DO I LOOK? • USE SIMPLE ENGLISH • FONT MATTERS • FORMATTING MATTERS • ASK MINIMIZED QUESTIONS • DO I TRIM MY WORDS?
  • 22. THANK YOU FOR PARTICIPATING. GLORIA