We write and receive emails in huge amounts - fast and smart communication, but also something that goes awry much time with. Tit creates emails doubts rather than clarity - what was the sender actually? Why do I get this mail? or even distance - 'She simply does not understand what it's about'. This article is about creating more clarity in email communication.
Thanks or please?
Basically, our communication has one of two purposes: either we say? thanks ?, or too? will you be kind enough to? Most emails belong in the last category, but it is far from always clear what it really is the sender requests. Including an example in three tempo.
The unclear email
Do you always know what the sender really wants you? When you eg. Receives a forwarded article, a link, or has been sent Cc to a message to someone else. Or you get a real message, such as:
- It was not quite brilliant what you reached yesterday.
You will not be asked for anything, so you continue to the next mail. But does it match the sender's expectation? Here are examples of how the sender might think of you as a result:
- I sent her [...], but she did not react - does she call it cooperation?
- I wrote to him that I did not want to agree with what they agreed. But that was just not taken into account!
The result can be an angry or blaming email that surprises. But? she did not ask me anything about it? did she? Back and read the first mail again. Discuss it with a colleague and with another colleague. Chew a little on it before a reserved response return. All of this is a waste of time and good energy and, at worst, can generate backlog or conflict.
Be specific and tell what reaction you expect
In emails we tend to be less formal and more spoken-language than when we write letters. At the same time, the reader does not have the same opportunity as in a conversation to immediately clarify the ambiguities. Therefore, it's extra important that you make it clear what you expect. Here are the examples formulated with clear requests:
- I will send you a link to an article and I would like to hear if it covers what you are looking for. Would you like to let me know by Thursday afternoon?
- I have heard from Lone that you agreed that in the future there should be two people on the phone service in the morning. It is not a deal I want to join. I would like to have this brought up on our next team meeting.
Tell why you ask the recipient what you're asking
Above the messages have become more accurate, but it is still unclear what the sender will use the answer to. It's easy to sound controlling or commanding when we do not know the intention. A request is much easier to relate to when we know why. Effective emails look like this:
- I will send you a link to an article and I would like to hear if it covers what you are looking for. Would you like to let me know by Thursday afternoon? So I know if I have to go ahead with documentation before the meeting on Friday.
- I have heard from Lone that you agreed that in the future there should be two people on the phone service in the morning. It's not an agreement I want to join. JI am really excited about my other tasks. Then I have to take more phone watch, I need to be relieved. JI would like to have this brought up at our next team meeting.
Summarize when answering
When we reply to an email, we reduce the risk of misunderstandings if we agree with the sender about what we are responding to. It is especially important when the email is unclear. We can ensure understanding by Recap the original email, ie draw the main points as we think that sender would like us to understand the message. Answering the first unclear emails could sound like this:
- You have sent me a link, is it because you want to tell me there are others who have done the same to us? And you're in doubt if we should move on with this idea?
- You write that what we reached was not quite brilliant. Was it that we had to switch to clean the kitchen? Or that with the telephone guards? Or that we keep closed when there is a status? And would you like us to change the decision?
Even when the message is ready, it may be advantageous to summarize before answering, so the sender is sure that you have understood his / her errand. It may sound like this:
- I understand you are willing to lead on documentation, but would like to know about the submitted cover. I get the first time to see it through Thursday afternoon, have meetings and have private agreements until then. Should I instead ask Maria to look at it? Or is Thursday at. 15 ok?
- I understand that you are very excited and not willing to take more phone guards unless you are relieved. I want to help us find a solution. Do you have the opportunity to look into me this afternoon so we can talk about it?
Effective emails reach the core? in a kind and courteous manner
Technology and a to-do list can remedy many misunderstandings? But the most important thing is to use all communication - also emails - to strengthen the context. So we read and write emails in understanding the other party's positive intentions. It builds the goodwill account that is essential for smooth workflows, respect and tolerance.