As you know, my posts are many times born of my own experiences running my businesses and receiving hundreds of emails every day. This post is about a trend I see forming as it seems to be happening more often. What is “it”? Folks not reading my emails in their entirety.
Twice this week I’ve had onliners reply to emails stating incorrect assumptions or information because they did not take the time to read my previous correspondence. If you email me you know I down-edit my replies and respond point by point to ensure there is no confusion and that all concerns are addressed.
In both cases, my emails were very clear. The assumptions were clearly due to the other side obviously not taking the time to read my email (or previous emails on the same topic) in their entirety.
Yes, I know… We are all in a hurry. Too busy to get anything done. Not enough time in the day! But when you don’t take the time to read, really read, the emails you are responding to, you risk looking as though paying attention to details is not a priority. And to not take the time to scroll a bit to see the responses to your issues or questions? That could not only 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 it’s entirety, you become someone who becomes difficult to communicate with.
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? Not much…
Here again is where skilled down-editing makes sure you read and reply to each point in your communications. This practice ensures both sides are on the same page and can avoid those dangerous assumptions.
It is every onliners job to read communications completely before responding to them. It is also each onliners responsibility to ensure they are responding appropriately. Before you make assumptions or accusations, be sure that what you are responding to is in fact what the person said or provided. You need to take the time to think about if what you are typing is apropos and accurate to what was typed by the other side.
If you are in a hurry and don’t have time to read the entire email before you reply to them 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!