Can I get a “whoop whoop” from all of you Marketing Coordinators!? Aww yeah! Exciting stuff—organizing, meeting, planning, editing, coordinating, delivering, rinse and repeat.

I really do love my job. I was laughing to myself the other day as New Year’s weekend was coming to a close, because some friends of mine back in Oregon were beginning the process of mourning as Monday loomed before them. It didn’t even faze me, because I truly love the environment I work in. That’s a sappy story for another time. For now, I will treat you to a little inside look at one of my favorite parts of my job. It may come as a surprise to you…

(Cue dramatic, suspenseful music and a deep narrator voice)

It’s a part of almost any professional environment…

We all deal with this…

Unless you work alone…

And actually even if you do work alone you deal with this, so I take that last point back…

Perhaps several times a day you deal with this…yes…I am referring to…writing emails.

I’ve always been an anticlimactic storyteller, so it just makes me giggle to think of the disappointment you may be feeling. But seriously, you guys, writing emails is one of the joys of my job. Allow me to explain why I think it’s so important.

Have you ever received an email from someone—usually a member from your staff—and your immediate thought is, “Whoa, this person is angry at me.” Or, “Pshh. Rude.” Or, “This email is a massive paragraph. I can’t bring myself to read it at all. I’m scared.” Me too. I’m going to address how to prevent that reaction from the lucky recipients of your future emails. Take note!

  • Know your audience: This advice applies to all communication, but it’s definitely important in email writing. You can quickly get into trouble when you are too casual with someone who doesn’t know you well. Maybe your officemates know you are sarcastic and jokey, but when you include that vibe in an email to someone who doesn’t know you well, it may be hard to tell if you are seriously just rude or mad. This leads me to my next point.
  • Set a good tone: This is the number one reason in my opinion why you should (if possible) avoid crucial conversations via email with someone. It’s tricky to read tone in an email when you can’t see a face or hear a voice behind it. Or, you might not even intend for an email to be sent negatively, but if you aren’t strategic in how you present, your reader may be on the defense unnecessarily. To avoid this while still communicating what you want, I always prefer the sandwich method. Positive, negative, positive. Starting your email without any “hello” or “thanks…” will be blunt and a little abrupt. Again, refer to the first point if this kind of added wording is unnecessary. Sometimes I go over the top with this, but in my opinion, it puts the recipient at ease. It eliminates the tendency to be on guard with a shield up and ready to attack back! Be gracious in your communication. And hey–sometimes it’s cool to actually step out of your office and walk to the person you want to talk to. Not only is it effective in clarifying what you’re trying to say, but it’s also a nice touch to seek people out face-to-face. There are certain people I automatically know to go see face-to-face. I know emailing might hinder communication instead of help it.
  • Keep it brief: I’ve already cut out extra comments on this very blog because I knew I’d be writing this point. The art of concise communication is valuable. Long emails overwhelm people—especially during work when there are usually multiplying to-do lists. Be considerate of those reading, and keep your emails to the point. I am a huge fan of bullet points. If I am expecting something from the reader, or if there is an important piece of info, put it in bold. Any time you can condense your writing, do it!

I think those three points will send you in a good direction for now. Be on the lookout for how changing a few email habits can benefit the efficiency of your workflow! Think about it—the clearer you are the first time, the less strings of emails you have to unravel to get to a point. Also, learning to be clear and concise as we write will help us no matter what we are communicating. Maybe you are in a role that deals a lot with administrative communication, maybe you are proposing ideas to people and want to communicate your vision, maybe you are working with other departments on various team projects. In all these cases, improved communication will only improve your workflow!

Communication makes me happy, and it’s one way we can honor those around us, even by the simplest email. The point is–we all communicate. So let’s learn to do it well.

 

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