Too long, too short, boring, imprecise, confusing, stressful: getting wrong with email is a matter of seconds while winning attention is an increasingly difficult task.
Every day e-mail helps us work (it is indeed the first communication tool for many professions), but it also generates a lot of impatience, waste of time and saturation effect.
A few instructions for using this tool, then, are invaluable in being able to communicate effectively, complete projects and collaborate remotely, without stress.
And who better than LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, can help us make email our best ally at work? In a recent interview, the CEO explained which, according to his experience, are the two main mistakes to avoid.
In the mail, less is more
Weiner has no doubts about the most frequent and damaging mistake: overwriting. “ The longer and more complex the message, the more questions it can raise, and if people are expecting answers then you have to send more emails, more replies will come and so on,” explains the LinkedIn chief. So we don’t dwell too much on explanations either, the message is clear. And the reader’s time is precious.
Emotions away from the keyboard
Getting carried away while writing, venting the emotion of the moment in words, may not help communication. Anger, in particular, easily transpires between the lines and can trigger a question and answer that is certainly not productive among the interlocutors. Everyone will have received an unwelcome email, feeling attacked, and replied “hotly”, only to regret it.
The “enter” key can wait
One of Weiner’s tips, although seemingly trivial, is very useful: reread before sending the message. But how often do we do it? Few. And how many times do we find ourselves thinking that we wish we had done it, but it’s too late? Yet it would be enough to re-read, or at least do it for emails of particular importance or complexity.
Don’t snub your phone
An E-mail has clear advantages over phone calls, those typical of a written and diachronic communication: it can be read anywhere and at any time (also thanks to smartphones and apps), it does not require silence, allows us to respond when we have time and desire. Email respects meetings, departing trains, and headaches. But shouldn’t completely replace phone calls, whether traditional or via Skype. Sometimes circumstances dictate the choice of keyboard or handset, other times you may have doubts. To solve them, ask yourself a few questions. Am I writing too much? Is the email confused? Will it create more questions than answers? Would it be better to talk about it verbally? If the answer to at least one of these questions is “yes”, then pick up the phone.
Take your time
The anxiety of speed must not prevail over the accuracy of communication. Particularly delicate emails (perhaps because they are addressed to an important customer or are very technical or crucial for your business) deserve additional attention. Write them down and save them as a draft, allowing you time to read them again later, whether it’s after a day, an hour or a simple coffee break.
According to the counts and approximations of the Radicati Group, there are over 3.8 billion registered mailboxes in the world, from which 281 billion messages on average leave or arrive every day. And in 2022 the daily average will rise to 333 billion. Handling this tool with care and some cunning is, therefore, the only way to survive the cyclone of emails.