Have you ever sent an email and not gotten the response you wanted? Maybe you got a negative response – something you intend to have happened. Or maybe you got no response at all. Sometimes when we communicate via email, the intent we have doesn’t match the impact we make.
There are a few simple things that you can use to make your email communication more effective – it’s all about keeping things concise.
One problem with email is that sometimes they are simply too long. If your messages go on line after line, paragraph after paragraph, almost as if someone’s reading a novel, for many people that’s too long. Your email may be perfectly crafted, have a very urgent message and be perfect for you, but if the person at the other end doesn’t read it, it does you no good at all.
Instead, try these email formatting hacks:
- Communicate in bullet points.
- Use bold.
- Make your email succinct – 5 to 10 lines is perfect.
So what if you did those things, but you ran into the problem mentioned above: you sent a succinct, simple email, and for some reason you’ve created bad feelings and the sender responded negatively. This might be because your email’s actually too short – you didn’t say enough. So even though you feel you’ve made an effective use of time with a very brief email, the other person received it as a “barking order” or they weren’t really clear on what you meant. Perhaps you got a response that was incomplete, or you didn’t get a response to your email at all.
Here is a simple formula I learned from my good friend and productivity expert, Meggin McIntosh, the Ph.D. of Productivity, that you can use anytime you write an email to help you be effective in your communication. It’s called:
In a few simple lines, communicate to the person that the other end what you want them to know, what you want them to do and what you want them to feel. If you communicate in every email, what you want them to know, do and feel in roughly 5-10 lines with clear formatting, you will get the answers you are looking for, and will solve the problem of ineffective email communication.
For more communication tips and personal leadership strategies, see Joelle’s books: The Inner Edge and The New Advantage: How Women In Business Can Create Win-Wins For Their Companies And Themselves.