Communicating Via Email

email sentIt’s Monday. If you are anything like me, you went to your office, booted up your computer, and immediately headed for your email inbox which was, very likely, flooded with extra emails from the weekend.

But I have a problem.

Some of the emails I receive, from both team members and other managers, are incomprehensible.

In the end, I have to spend time rereading the email to gain an understanding of it; email the person to ask him what he meant; or call the sender to find out what is going on. If the sender had been clear the first time, neither of us would be wasting time with interpretations.

And that’s just what we’re doing – wasting time.

Here are some of the most common problems I have with emails:

  • The writer is long-winded in a situation where he should just ask a simple question or make a short point.
  • The writer uses acronyms that I either a) don’t understand or that b) have multiple meanings (in which case I still don’t understand).
  • The writer can’t spell, rambles, and formats the email in a manner that is difficult to read.

As a manager, it is your job to communicate effectively – whether you’re writing an email, talking on the phone, or meeting with someone on person. Email, however, can be difficult. It’s already difficult to convey tone via email, so there is no reason to make things worse by simply losing your writing skills altogether.

My point? Get to the point, spell check your emails, avoid acronyms, and hit the send button before you become confusing. Be clear and concise, and – please – read your own message before you send it. If you don’t understand it, no one will.

Thanks again,


Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Training   | Image courtesy by sippakorn of FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

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Updated on: 12 April, 2010

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