Developing Your Talent

Are Your Emails In Need of a Makeover?

By JC Heinen on July 12, 2012

Let your team know that effective communication is an expectation. Countless business hours are wasted by employees trying to unravel the meaning of a long-winded email with confusing directives; or worse, communications are simply ignored.

In “Streamline Your Team’s Communications,” a recent posting on SmartBlog on Leadership, author Michael Feuer emphasizes the importance of clear, concise language as the hallmark of effective business communication. Feuer asserts that managers may need to streamline their messages – replacing “corporate-speak” with unambiguous, simplified language. And they should encourage their team members to do the same.

To enhance communication, managers should set an expectation for regular updates from employees to make sure everyone on the team is on the same page and clearly understands departmental objectives. The old adage, “It’s not so much what you said, but how you said it” holds true in email.  By regularly checking in with employees, you have an opportunity to assess the effectiveness of communications and identify where the gaps are.

Encourage brief, well-organized and professional email messages. Provide feedback and coaching to enhance communication skills. Feuer suggests you review your team’s emails for clarity and tone and then “look in the mirror” to determine if you’re setting the right example. The poor communication habits of managers can actually permeate an organization as many team members subconsciously adopt the communication style of managers.

If you’re frustrated with team members who are tugging at you for more information, misinterpreting or failing to respond to directives, or if each request you make of your team members requires multiple emails back and forth for clarification, chances are your own communication style could use a bit of a makeover.

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