4 Keys to Email Communication

What did we do before email? Such a fabulous form of communication. On a fairly regular basis I get variations of the following from:

  • “What time? What day?” What about?” ….. questions about things already communicated
  • I never got that note.
  • Were you being serious or sarcastic?
  • I keep sending this message to your co-worker (I’m intentionally not saying which job) and I’m not getting an aswer….  

In keeping with the trend in blogging to have something that takes 3-4-5 points…. I offer the following keys to email communication:

1. ASSUME NOTHING. Communicate Clearly!

One of the most frustrating things to hear, both in business and in education, is someone saying, “But, I thought…..”, usually in reference to misunderstanding, missing something, etc. There are times when I’ve sent an email, get no response, and assume a certain answer, only to discover later that the recipient never got the email. With all the spam filters and other things that cause emails to ‘bounce’, that’s realistic. So my answer is to ASSUME NOTHING.

Because email eliminates the voice inflection we use in normal conversation, you need to put that in to what you write. If you are kidding, say so, i.e. ‘jk’ (just kidding) or lol (laugh out loud). Otherwise, something that would clearly come across as a joke or sarcasm in a face to face conversation can be totally misinterpreted in writing. I am frequently guilty in this area.

2. READ & HEED, and/or REPLY. No news is BAD news.

Sometimes it is good to think through something before you answer, so I am not going to say do it NOW. The problem with email is that the older it is, the farther down on your screen it becomes. If you do not check your entire list at least daily, then find another way to organize your response. Maybe you can ‘flag’ those needing a response, or adding that to a ‘to do’ list. Or, organize your email into folders and ‘file’ a note after you have finished it.

You’ve heard the phrase, “No news is good news”. Not with email responses. Often, no news is BAD news and that cuts both ways. When you send a note, ASSUME NOT that a non-answer means they agree with you. Maybe he/she didn’t get it. Maybe there is some anger involved as a reason not to respond, but if you let it go, it becomes worse. If you receive an unhappy email the tendency is either to yell and scream a response or to delete and forget it. Neither works. I like the “save draft” feature in most email programs. Often, I will compose a response, but I want to think more, calm down, or whatever….so I will save it, re-read it later, and then send. We’ve all had problems that were minor mole hills at the beginning that became mighty mountains because we didn’t address an issue while it was small.

3. CC THE LOOP. Reply ALL, when applicable.

Last year, one of the valued members of a summer marching band staff felt like he/she was not in the loop, i.e. not receiving regular communication about decisions as they are happening. That was a legitimate complaint. It was one of those no fault issues, because no one was guilty of intentionally doing anything…..and communication was the key that solved the problem.

Committee communication can be a little overwhelming if there is a lot of activity. But especially when their are multiple people involved, you need to keep everyone informed. If anything, I get accused of cc’ing people too much, never too little. That’s ok. I can handle it.

4. FINISH & FOLLOW-UP. Don’t drop the ball.

An issue has come up, you read the email and responded to it. Are you finished? Not yet. For one thing, you want to ASSUME NOT that your email got through (see above).

In sales, when a prospect comes up with an objection and you address the objection, then the “followup” could be, “Does that take care of that?” or “Is there anything else?” An example might be someone who claims something is “too expensive” and you counter with, “How much too much is it?” Once you know what the amount is that you have to address, you at least know where you need to go. And then, if you have handled it completely, and that is the only objection, then there is no reason not to proceed with the closure of the sale or whatever the discussion is about.

Do the same with an email. Even something as brief as “Got it” or “DONE” if you were asked to do something or “Got it?”, or “Does that take care of that?” at least show that you are interested in assuring satisfactory closure to the issue.


Thanks for reading.


Twitter: http://twitter.com/QDPCorp  and http://twitter.com/BandDirFundRais
Linked In: john@qdpcorp.com
Skype: qdpcorp

Consulting for Manufacturers wanting to get into the Fundraising Business: http://wp.me/pIYXs-2z
The Band Plan: http://wp.me/pIYXs-1C
Gump-isms Gardnerized: http://wp.me/pIYXs-3i
My Dad (6/19/10): http://wp.me/pIYXs-3l
S-Steps To Success (6/14/0): http://wp.me/pIYXs-3c 
Memorial Day 2010: http://wp.me/pIYXs-2J 
A Really Free Credit Report: http://wp.me/pIYXs-38 

You Want To Make Money in Fundraising? http://wp.me/pKZd0-n
Can I Make Money in Fundraising while Working From Home? http://wp.me/pKZd0-a
Who Raises Money and Why: http://wp.me/pKZd0-H
Make Money Selling our Holiday Gift Consignment Shop: http://wp.me/pKZd0-17
Discount Cards For All The Right Reasons: http://wp.me/pKZd0-B
5 Proficiencies for Peak Performance in Sales: http://wp.me/pKZd0-1f
The Band Plan: http://wp.me/pIYXs-1C 
Consulting for Manufacturers wanting to get into the Fundraising Business: http://wp.me/pIYXs-2z
Getting to the Music Directors: http://wp.me/pKZd0-f
Gump-isms Gardnerized: http://wp.me/pIYXs-3i


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