Emails: The Life Blood of Business Communication
Emails are the life blood of businesses.
You can broaden “life blood” to ANY PROFESSIONAL digital communication.
(e.g. Slack, LinkedIn, Teams, WeChat)
- Respond FAST.
- Respond CLEARLY.
- Respond to make my life EASY!
People don’t like “EXTRA emails.”
Get to the point. Move the ball forward. Move on!
Business Professionals Don’t Like Surprises
As admitted by Evan Spiegel, SnapChat CEO:
“One of the things I did underestimate was how much more important communication becomes,” he added. “When you go public, and you really need to explain to a huge new investor base — instead of having 10 investors, you have 10,000 — you have to explain how your business works.” (Source: LA Times)
The last thing you want to do is “GHOST” an amazing business connection!
Professionals don’t like “surprises.”
Clear communication avoids surprise.
Surprises such as:
“HOW is that project coming along?”
“Whose making progress on this?
“Is that [project] GETTING done?”
Because…The last thing you want to be doing is have the ENTIRE project held up by you.
(Trust me! I’ve been there. It’s not a fun time.)
Because THEY are responsible and accountable to someone else.
(Yes, even if they work for themselves.)
If that persons doesn’t know what’s going on, it’s a reflection of THEM!
THEY look bad and THEY are held accountable for it.
You made them look bad in the long run, if you don’t help them execute.
Expect The Following
You are communicating A LOT to avoid (and assuage) fears.
- So get used to writing A LOT !
- Get used to writing FAST!
- Get good at it!
Knowing how to write emails WELL & FAST will set you apart from your peers!
The 10 Rules for Writing Terse Emails
RULE #1. Don’t make me scroll. (unless absolutely neccessary.)
If I have to scroll, simply link to a separate google doc with more information.
(A memo is acceptable too.)
Email is for an update.
Anything further, requires a separate document
or a phone call.
Here’s the decision-tree:
RULE # 2. Make it skimmable.
At a glance, I should be able to look at your email and understand what you need from me and why.
RULE #3. Get the main points across—fast!
Referring back to “Email is for an update”, get to the main point fast.
If you can get a “great 👍🏾” that means you did well.
RULE #4. Use Bullet Points.
Bullet points are a wonderful way to make something skimmable.
RULE #5. Use Colons.
RULE #6. Set it up for a fast decisions. Yes/No/More Information
Imagine this scenario playing out:
“Hey Moose, does this [Decision that needs to be made] work for you.”
That is a GREAT Response!
It got straight to the point and got the job done! (Like Drake, OFC).
The decisions that need a more in-depth process.
Say it! Like this:
This needs more thought. We need a separate meeting.
RULE #7. Link to any documents I need.
Don’t make me look for it.
This isn’t f*&*ing CLUE!
The goal of the email is to Get things done!
Help me get it done!
“Help me, Help you!”Jerry Maguire
The few extra seconds it takes to attach the PDF version AND the DocX version pays off—in droves!
when the task is done instead of “looming over” your head.
RULE #8. No long email urls.
Long URLs look unprofessional.
Also, if you send one to me I WILL HATE YOU FOREVER!
RULE #9. No multi-colored fonts.
Just no. Please No.
Pick 1 color for comments and stick with it.
You can answer an email like this:
But if you start using 4 font colors, I will simple find a way to curse at you in every color of the rainbow.
Go home and stay there. FOREVER!
RULE #10. No different sized fonts.
This isn’t Sesame Street.
Just don’t do it.
It makes you look sloppy.
Armed with just these 10 rules, you will jump ahead of most young professional sending BAD emails.
Get to it!