Email is the 21st century equivalent of the letter and IMs have pretty much replaced to and fro conversations in real life. The pervasive adoption of technology and digital media in our everyday life has had a tremendous impact on our interactions with fellow human beings. As a result, we need to radically overhaul the systems with which we communicate with each other as well as the societal conventions that govern them. In this article, we 5 discuss 5 tips that will help you communicate better over email and get your point across to the other party in the most efficient manner.
Good writing is as little writing as possible. Taught in literature classes all over the world, using fancy and flowery language to demonstrate your grasp over the language will do you little good in every day conversation. Keep the big words and fancy allusions to poetry. In online communication, especially email, strive to be as precise and concise as you can be.
Dispense with introductions altogether. In an email, get straight to the point right after your salutation. Chances are your recipient already has a large number of emails that need their attention. By making yours short and sweet, you have a much greater chance of getting their full attention.
The written word has one huge disadvantage over speech: the lack of tone. This robs the conversation of a whole other dimension of meaning and nuance that speech has. This is why when writing emails, or letters for that matter, refrain from using sarcasm and double entendres.
There should be no scope for interpretation in any written document. This is why legal documents are written so exhaustively. In every day written communication, you do not need to go that far but you point should be clear by a fair margin.
Your emails should always be polite and respectful. You should not use language in an email that you would not want to be on the receiving end of. You can be stern and direct, but never go as far as to insult or directly rebuke the recipient of the email. In spoken communication, our tone and facial expressions do a great deal of work for us. This is not possible over email; identical words when written down often carry much greater weight and impact than if they were spoken aloud. Keep this in mind.
Use RSVPs when you expect a reply
This convention from the days of letter written has almost disappeared from modern day communication. The RSVP makes it explicitly clear that you expect a response from the recipient and does not leave that to their personal judgement. In other words, it makes your own life easier.
Only email during business hours
In the day of IM and chat apps, email has largely been relegated exclusively for business purposes. Therefore, refrain from sending emails outside office hours. This means that you should only send emails between 10 in the morning and 8 in the evening.