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Do you really mean what you write in an email?

While listening to SiriusXM’s Business Radio channel, I heard a really interesting program this morning on Help Wanted, regarding company email communications.

Although I’ve taught email communications to a range of service professionals for years, including accounting, legal and medical, this particular episode shed a fresh light on the content of emails, especially in the time of COVID. It’s a no brainer that it’s very difficult to determine any kind of tone in an email, unless the sender uses ALL CAPS (shouting), or so I thought.

Turns out something as simple as the following could be questionable:


Yes, just the word “Okay,” with a period at the end. Did you pick up on this, yet? Simply putting a period at the of one word could mean the sender is upset, or maybe dismissive, because it’s so short and to the point, especially if the person is replying to an email.

I’ve never thought of this before now, but it makes total sense, so it’s probably better to explain yourself in more than one word. According to the show, writing “Okay” without a period is better than putting it there at all.

Another concept had to do with confrontation. I think this is common sense, but you should not use email to confront someone on a problem or issue. Instead, pick up the phone and have a conversation about it. We can’t really see each other in person, due to COVID, and a Zoom call may be just a little too much of an affront.

A good tip also had to do with drafting an email, no matter what the topic is. I’ve always taught that for a longer, more in-depth email, you should write it, save as a draft, and then go back to it to review and refine what you’ve written.

This tip had to to with ensuring you don’t hit “Send” by accident, before the email is ready to go, so instead of completing the “To” field at the top, leave it blank until you’re ready to send the email. I thought this was a great tip!

Like other companies, we’re using Slack more and more in place of email communications for short messaging because it’s in real time. If you have short messages, consider setting up channels on Slack. It’s very efficient.

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