Archive for the 'communication' Category

Don’t leave people in the dark

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Curious about Communication | Email Best Practices


Business etiquette says that you should respond to an email in 48 hours.
If it requires immediate attention, bump that up to a 24 hour turnaround time.
Most people I interviewed had trained themselves to respond immediately.

Sometimes an email requires some thought or some research, making it hard to respond within 24 or 48 hours.
Don’t wait to respond though.
The other person might take your silence the wrong way.
Or they might wonder if you ever got the email.

A quick and good email practice is to send a temporary email.
I call it:

The Placeholder Email.

Or the Stopgap.  Or the Proxy.
Whatever you call it, it goes like this:

“Hi Mr. Smith,
Thanks for your email. 
Great to hear from you. 
I’ll need some time to think about your wedding proposal. 
I’ll get back to you in a few days.”

Whether it’s a marriage proposal or a simple business communication, don’t leave people in the dark.

Greta Garbo would not be a good at email

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Curious about Communication | Email Helpers


Mysterious Greta Garbo kept her life private.
While that’s intriguing, it’s really bad for email.
Email content needs to be obvious.

1)  Keep the thread visible.

Yes, it makes a short email seem longer.
But if the context of the email is removed, then your email recipient has to go back and open previous emails to know what was being said.
That extra bit of effort on their part will irk them and they might take longer to respond.

2) Change the name of the subject when an email morphs from one topic to another.

It takes a few moments.
It saves you time both now and later. 
You will know instantly, before even opening the email what topic is inside.
Later on, you’ll be able to find the archived email much easier.

Just don’t make your emails enigmatic.

Use the force, stay on target

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Curious about Communication | Email Helpers


Another good way to improve your email communication:

Stay on target.

Keep your emails short and succinct.
If someone opens up an email from you and sees 4 longs paragraphs, they may not have the time to read it all. 
They may decide to not read it at all.

One of my interview subjects felt that if the email went on that long, then it should be a phone call.
The only exception being when the email contains a summary of a meeting or important decision.
Those emails are seen as reference material to be archived.
But for every day conversation, keep it short and to the point.