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In Business Email Explicitness Matters

Explicitness matters in business email.

Are you as explicit as you need to be in your business email communications? Let’s look at what explicit actually means:

ex-plic-it -adjective

  1. fully and clearly expressed or demonstrated; leaving nothing merely implied; unequivocal: explicit instructions; explicit language.
  2. clearly developed or formulated: explicit knowledge; explicit belief.
  3. definite and unreserved in expression; outspoken: He was quite explicit as to what he expected us to do for him.

Easy Ways to Be Explicit in Email

Now that we understand the above definition apply this to your business emails.

  • If you receive an email asking several questions — answer each point-by-point — in detail.
  • Stop briefly and think about what you would want to know if you were asking the questions. Then provide all that information, even if it is above and beyond what is asked.
  • If you know one question will lead to another, cover them both. The last thing you want to do is hit reply and type a general statement at the top of the email that doesn’t cover all the issues presented.
  • Learn how to down-edit your replies to avoid unnecessary back-and-forths for clarification. By down-editing, you can show that it is essential to be a clear communicator and will speak volumes about what it will be like to communicate with you. PIA or joy?

Are you the communicator that goes above and beyond or the one that requires clarification or questions that need to be asked? Proactively covering all the bases can make a difference in whom a potential customer chooses to do business with.

Explicitness in your business email communications helps to avoid confusion and misunderstandings. The bad habit of top-posting – just typing a cryptic reply at the top of an email without including any email etiquette – contributes to confusion.

By top-posting, one may assume that you are not capable of succinct replies. Or lazy, which doesn’t build confidence.

Review and Respond Point by Point

Some folks just don’t want to down-edit. I’m not sure why, but I have experienced quite a bit of resistance to doing so. If you do not wish to down-edit for whatever reason, don’t just reply with what point or info you want to relay. You need to be sure to respond to the specifics of the email that was sent to you.

Taking the time to read an email and ensuring you’ve covered all the topics required or questions asked reflects attention to detail. Not doing so will demonstrate a lack of courtesy for those who email you causing them to have to send an additional email for further clarification. This makes you appear inefficient and causes others to be the same. Not a great way to nurture business relationships, right?

Business is so darned competitive. You must use every trick in the book to stand out above your competitors. In this regard, email is a differentiator!

When you make it clear that contacts can easily communicate with you, that reflects what it will be like to do business with you. The easier to communicate with you, the easier to do business.

In business, replying without displaying this level of attention to detail will undermine your potential for success. Why take that risk when it is so easy to avoid?

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