4 Tips to Improve Your Emails and Communicate More Effectively
How much do you think miscommunication costs companies each year? A million? Ten million?
Try $62.4 million for companies with at least 100,000 employees. And those that are smaller don’t fare much better: those with 100 employees or fewer lose an average of $420,000 per year.
If you want to cut your losses, it’s time to double check your communication styles. These four tips will help you plug any monetary leaks.
1. Keep It Concise
Chances are you’ve had at least one experience where an individual drones on and on. Let’s face it: humans don’t have a long attention span, especially in today’s digital age. So keep your email messages concise and clear.
Also, anticipate questions employees will have ahead of time and include the answers in your discussion. A FAQ section is never a bad idea!
2. Be Consistent
For an employee, nothing is more annoying than having one manager tell him to do something one way and another manager to ask him to do something another way. In business, predictability is a good thing.
To encourage consistency, use email as a primary means of communication, and set daily expectations about checking it. If ideal, different platforms might be useful for other interactions.
Finally, a level of transparency in email is optimal. If there’s news, consider sharing the same message with the entire corporation. It demonstrates all members are valued equally.
3. Non-Transactional Conversations
One reason email is excellent in business is that it leaves a paper trail. However, sometimes, you must take the conversation off the keyboard.
This is where non-transactional conversations come in. Transactional conversations are one-way discussions that usually involve a request. Non-transactional communications involve day-to-day chat without a goal.
Engage in non-transactional conversations each day and keep it professional in emails. However, don’t underestimate a quick note in an email that congratulates Ben on his new granddaughter or wishes Sophia a happy birthday.
4. Utilize Various Communication Methods
“Having effective communication requires taking advantage of the tools available today,” says Matt D’Souza, vice president of sales operations at Washify, a car wash company that built its platform from the cloud.
Because everyone internalizes information differently, it’s best to use one central platform with several other approaches to share your messages. To do that, keep the four learning styles in mind:
- Visual learners make up the majority of the population. They learn through visuals, making infographics and videos in emails ideal for them.
- Auditory learners comprise about 30% of the population. They learn by listening, meaning company meetings with open discussions are ideal.
- Kinesthetic learners are made up of a small percentage of the population. They learn through interactions, meaning emails or long meetings might not get your message across. Instead, include activities that allow these individuals to move or become engrossed with the message, such as interactive lessons or role-playing.
- Reading and writing learners process information more efficiently through the written word. Text-based input and output of all forms is more likely to engage this kind of learner.
Although email is convenient, don’t forget the other communication methods out there!