Every hour of every business day is filled with communications of some sort: e-mails, text messages, cell calls, phone calls, memos and letters. With so much information filling up every inbox we own, it’s hard enough to read it all let alone respond to it. But the messages that also require too much effort to read, or any sort of deciphering definitely get pushed to the bottom of the “respond to” list. When messages come in so fast and furious, it is imperative that they be clear and concise. Here are five points to consider when writing business messages that you really want people to read.
1.Don’t bury the point. This isn’t the time for long introductions or chatty personal anecdotes. Get to the point as quickly as possible. Whenever possible put the key point of your message in the title or subject area of the message so the recipient has some inkling of the subject before the message is even opened. If you leave the reader in the dark till the end of the message, they main never get that far and your whole request may be lost.
2.Send a KISS. Keep It Short Simple and to the point. Don’t take thirty words to say what you can say in ten. Before starting to write your message, take a moment to ask yourself how you would say what you want to say if you were actually talking to the reader face to face. Then try to compose your message in those words. Just because you are putting something in writing doesn’t mean that it has to sound fancy or formal. If you wouldn’t say it, then you shouldn’t write it!
3.Respect your recipient. If your message is going out to a business colleague in another department or division, keep in mind that they may not necessarily understand all of your terminology or business language. Try not to use acronyms or technical short forms for things unless you’re certain the other party will understand them. If the message requires a lot of writing back and forth to clarify the content, chances are the task won’t be accomplished in good time.
4.Watch your spelling. It only takes a few minutes to run a document through spell check and doing so is well worth the extra time. Nothing can turn a reader off faster than seeing numerous spelling and grammar mistakes in a message, which is the last reaction you’re looking for when trying to turn their attention to important business matters.
5.Say it once and wait. As important as your message may be to you, you have to remember that the other person most likely has more than just your message in his inbox. It is good business manners to be patient and wait for a response. Sending the message again without waiting an appropriate amount of time could backfire and actually achieve the opposite results. Instead of your message being read and responded to, it may very well be ignored, sent to the bottom of list, or possibly even deleted altogether.