Email Writing: Training For Management
September 25, 2012 4 Comments
I recently gave a presentation on email etiquette to an executive team that reported into VP’s and SVP’s. I had been conducting email training at a large international company to customer service and IT teams and the executive wanted to benefit from skills development so they could better support their bosses. The executive also wanted to improve their communications skills so they could be examples to the people they mentored.
I was impressed.
When establishing the training objectives for this executive team I knew I had to design the training that hit all the key points I teach in my Email Writing Training course, but in this case the examples had to change. Why – because high-level decisions were being made based on the email messages the executive team were writing… so I had to tailor the material to this audience to make their learning curve as effective and as short as possible.
Of course the executive team still needed to know how to get their messages noticed, get to the point quickly and deliver accurate information with crystal clear clarity. But more than ever – they needed to learn how to deliver short to-the-point message with a respectful tone (not an abrupt or privileged tone). Why? Because if they didn’t accomplish all objectives it could easily lead to a bad decision being made by their VP’s and SVP’s… and a very dark stain on their very profitable career.
What Was My Training Agenda?
First, I taught them how to effectively use To.., Cc… and how to create a powerful Subject Line.
Second, I taught them how to develop and structure the main body of their email.
Third, I taught them how to write a professional salutation and signature box.
Within the main body of their email, the email writing / email etiquette tips I taught were how to:
- Bottom line their messages to reflect the Main Objective
- Make their work stand out using Headings to compartmentalize important information
- Keep information in an orderly manner using Bullets, Numeric Lists and Subheadings
- Use simple, everyday language and to keep jargon to a minimum (unless you know 100% that the information will only be used internally)
I often get disagreement about using simple, everyday language; then as soon as I describe why I get a room full of people who agree – here’s why. Senior people often have to speak with the press, influential investors, shareholders, policy makers and important suppliers. Therefore, we want to give them access to the tools (in this case their tools are words), they can use. Also, when we use simpler words we actually increase clarity. For example:
Lets use the sentence: “The process will elicit the information we require.”
To make it clear what I want to change. I am highlighting those words in red.
This sentence is OK… but lets change it to “The process will provide the information we need.”
When we make that change we make it easier to read and understand. Why is this important? Many reasons – but the easiest to describe is that we are all living in a world that represents many different ethnic, cultural and multigenerational differences, and everyone benefits (including ourselves) when we speak plainly.
But I wouldn’t stop there with this example. I would take “The process will provide the information we need.”
And I would prefer to write ”The survey questions will provide the information we need.”
Now everyone knows exactly what is happening. We don’t have to guess what “the process” is. Now our message is crystal clear and easy to read.
If you’re not worried about your bosses’ success – then use your own success as your motivator.
If you provide your senior management messages that are hard to understand you are creating a bad impression of your own work.
I’ve said it many times; email accounts for as much as 90% of most office communication. So, 90% of your time communicating with others can be promoting your reputation – or it could be slowly eroding your reputation, career, business and even your customer base.
Every email you send reflects on you (and your business).
Click here to join our priority list of people who receive our latest Business Communication blog posts.
If you enjoyed this post we think you’ll like:
- Email Etiquette: Should You Reply To My Email?
- Improve Your Time Management Skills
- Generational Differences Training
- Effective Business Email Writing Training
- Mindfulness At Work
- How to Hire And Retain Millennials
- 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Habit 1
Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Managing Difficult Conversations, Multigenerational Training, Time Management and Mindfulness.
Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.
Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.
Click on the image to watch us on Canada AM.
I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.