My posts are many times born of my own experiences running my businesses. Taking into account that I receive more emails than most folks every single day. This post is about a trend I see forming that seems to be happening more often.
What is “it”? Recipients not reading my emails in their entirety — and overreacting. Do you run into this too?
Twice this week I’ve had onliners reply to emails stating incorrect assumptions or information. Compounded by the fact they did not take the time to read my previous correspondence as well. They scanned and replied.
When you send me an email, you’ll see that I down-edit my replies. By down-editing I am making it easy for the recipient to know exactly what I am responding to. Because I respond point by point. This approach makes sure there is no confusion and that I address all concerns.
In both of the cases this week, my emails were very clear. That is if they were read. The assumptions made were clearly due to the other side obviously not taking the time to read the email. In one case compounded by not reading previous emails on the same topic.
Apparently, they were more concerned about making their point. And what does that reflect? Their point was more important than the actual information that I did provide that discounts their “point”.
Clear Communications = Paying Attention to Details
Yes, I know… We are all in a hurry. To pay attention to detail takes time and we do not have enough time in the day!
But when you don’t take the time to read the entire message before you reply, it appears that paying attention to detail is not a priority. And that’s not a good look when it comes to business communications of any kind.
To not take the time to scroll a bit to see the responses to your issues or questions appears lazy. That could not only be embarrassing but the kiss of death to any business.
Then, to add salt to the wound, because you assumed based on a quick overview instead of taking the context in its entirety, you become someone who is difficult to communicate with. That creates a loss of efficiency.
And, no, saying “I may have not read your email thoroughly but…” before you top post your response, doesn’t make your statements valid or accurate. You simply appear as though you have no desire to take the necessary time when required to accomplish clarity in your business communications.
Certainly not a professional approach, right? What does it say about a person who whips off an email filled with assumptions contrary to the content of the email they are replying to? Or you ask questions whose answers were in fact in the email you are responding to.
Build Your Communication Skills
To learn to skillfully down-edit will make sure that you read and reply to each point in your communications. This practice keeps both sides on the same page and can avoid those dangerous assumptions and unnecessary misunderstandings.
It is your job to read communications completely before responding to them. When it comes to your business email communications you have the responsibility to respond accurately.
Before you jump to make assumptions or accusations, maybe take a deep breath and step away before responding. Clear your head, then come back. You can then be sure that your response will be on point.
Next, read your email out loud. Take the time to think about if what you are typing is apropos and accurate to what was typed by the other side. You might be surprised how stepping away, then rereading an accusatory response before clicking send will help you avoid a negative impression.
If you are in a hurry and don’t have time to read the entire email before you reply in haste, then don’t reply until you have the time to send an educated response. You’ll save face and eat a lot less humble pie in the process.