3 Small Changes That Cut the Emails I Receive by 20%
It was a tiring day at work. I was sitting (well, slumping) at a desk, tip tapping away at an email, bemoaning my misfortune. “How am I involved in call upon meeting upon chat upon thread, and yet still need to repeat all of my efforts and re-write the same information in a dang email?” I quickly bullet-pointed the summary items and hit “send,” frustrated. Sound familiar?
This had become the reality of my interactions: failed attempts at Band-Aid fixes. I was failing because of ineffective communication and a misaligned mindset. I didn’t recognize the power behind my day-to-day actions, and I didn’t realize how I could leverage the things I bemoaned to actually make my life better.
My “a-ha” moment and subsequent transformation started by focusing on a simple, yet powerful reality: Every interaction with another person represents an opportunity—an opportunity to inspire change and impart confidence in your audience.
There are rarely net neutral human exchanges—not in the Starbucks line, not in an email, and definitely not in the boardroom. We are living in a connection economy, where all business is now P2P (Person-to-Person), or Peer-to-Peer. Our success depends on our ability to form relationships with others and share our unique talents.
As we rush through our days, trying to get our inbox to single digits and our revenue goals to six, it seems like our only option is to hustle endlessly to make the numbers. Our lives are filled with goal-driven conversations, but we often complicate them by misidentifying the goal and consequently wasting important opportunities to communicate well.
Here’s how to make the most of our connections and communicate effectively at work.
1. As Franklin Covey Would Say, Begin With the End in Mind
A fundamental objective to all conversations is to reaffirm the relationship and the value you bring to it. Through redefining our day-to-day success, we remember that the goal of most communication is to solve problems. That is, after all, why businesses exist in the first place. The purpose of most of my emails, I realized, wasn’t necessarily to incite more replies, but to influence those copied to take action. And action got me the results I was aiming for all along.
2. Highlight Your Insight Above Information and Data
Give your reader clarity and understanding from your distinctive perspective. Show why you are an integral part of the solution to their problems, and why following your recommendations will make their lives better. When you establish yourself as a problem-solver, you increase your value to your customers and colleagues, and they will react to you better. Instead of just mentioning facts and figures, tell your customers what those numbers mean for their business, project, or objective, and what they can do to make the best impact.
3. Anticipate Reader Questions, and Seamlessly Weave Them Into the Discussion Before They Even Need to Ask
When we feel understood, we start trusting, and trust is the first step to a solid relationship. Consider your audience’s perspective and give them all of the information they will need or want upfront in your communication.
My days of trudging through my email are over, and guess what? I receive about 20% less in my inbox per day, because the follow-up correspondences are not filled with doubt, clarifying questions, and the infamous “I’ll get back with you later.” Now, the responses I get, more often than not, are confident and action-taking.
Think about the very next email you are going to write. What specifically are you looking to accomplish? How can you positively affect those involved and inspire them to act?
This article was originally published on Career Contessa. It has been republished here with permission.