I have been guilty in the past of writing emails that were either not clear in their meaning, or were misinterpreted because of various reasons. Learning to communicate electronically is difficult, even for seasoned professionals who have remarkable speech communication skills. The issues with electronic communication is that the reader often incorporates their mood or emotion into reading an email, memo, or other electronically-sent letter. When this occurs, your writing can be misinterpreted, skewed, or worse, offend the reader.
My personal rules in writing communication that I send electronically are:
- Completely understand the program you are using to write the letter or memo (Outlook, etc). Know all the features to prepare a great document.
- Never write a sensitive-material letter when upset, angry, or in a foul mood, this just ends up becoming a rant on the computer screen.
- If I am upset, I do type it out...but NEVER, EVER send it. It is only one way that I can get it out of my system, if I have no one around to listen to me. Once I am done, I erase it from my computer so that I do not accidentally send it. Writing it down on paper is another way to sort out your thoughts.
- Always be professional when writing, Even if the person is some you know well. If it is business-related...write professionally. Dear Mr. or Sir, Dear Madam or Miss, Sincerely yours, etc. Business communication can be seen by many and leaves a lasting impression.
- Before hitting the SEND button - P R O O F R E A D - always!
- Finally, be clear and be concise.