Today is one of the theme days for the 2012 Blogathon and the theme is movies that inspire my blogging.
The first movie that popped to mind was “Moneyball.” But then I started thinking back on all of the years I’ve spent blogging and “The Hunger Games” seemed more appropriate.
Then I landed on the title of the 1998 movie called “You’ve Got Mail.”
That movie title fits perfectly–not because of the love story between the characters played by Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, but because email was so new and kind of exciting then.
Now email has taken over for real communication in the workplace. Just because writers send about 1 billion email messages each day worldwide, it doesn’t mean they all accomplish their purpose.
I saw a terrific example of an inefficient use of email just last week. The manager of a membership group I belong to sent a simple email message to all the members. As soon as I read it, I knew there was going to be a problem.
The writer took for granted that everyone in the group would understand the email that referred to a previous request for information.
It was clear from her follow-up message that many members didn’t know what the heck she was writing about.
Imagine how much time was wasted with that first email because the writer didn’t think about the message, the readers or how the readers might react to the message. I’m sure she received quite a few responses that asked questions or provided the information she didn’t need. That meant a second email needed to be sent.
Here are six business writing tips for improving email messages:
- Write substantial subject lines that communicate the reason you’re writing.
- Open with a pleasantry (if you want), but then get to the point quickly.
- Use numbered lists to call attention to questions, information, key actions, deadlines, etc.
- Prioritize points in order of importance–most important first.
- Conclude with what needs to happen next and be specific.
- Include all of your contact information.
These tips might not make for award-winning emails, but they will help improve communication at work by eliminating those back-and-forth email messages from confused readers.