In the coming months we will introduce you to a series of great tips and tricks to help integrate the Partner Mindset and Behaviours* into all aspects of daily life.

Hey there Partners!

The intention is that this approach becomes your automatic response in any challenging situation! A common question I get in many of my trainings is: “Amy these skills are great for face2face communication, how do I apply them in email?”

Whether it’s emailing, texting, blogging, chatting or instant messaging – electronic communication (EC) has become the new norm across all aspects of our daily lives. Traditional communication (you remember when we used to actually make eye contact with each other) is already a challenge to do effectively and send the intended message. With this newest form of communication (EC), the challenge is multiplied, because 2 of the 3 elements of communication (body language and voice) are eliminated. This increases the chances of miscommunication significantly!

While we’re at it, let’s add a few other communication blocks like dangerous distractions, (anyone guilty of texting while driving??) or sending an impulsive email response, laced with sarcasm, to a much deserved idiot? As they say it’s a recipe for disaster!

One of my favourite miscommunications was an email exchange I had with my sister Sheila who had been living in Singapore. I’d heard Singapore was a great place to buy electronics so I considered buying a computer beamer (overhead projector) while on a trip there a few years ago. I sent Sheila an email that said, “Hey Shel, do you think buying a beamer would be expensive in Singapore?” She wrote back and said, “Hey Amy, since Singapore is an island, they have really strong restrictions and high taxes on car imports so I think a BMW would be extremely expensive.”

Here is a person I have known my entire life, with whom I shared the same cultural upbringing and she interpreted the word ‘beamer’ to mean a BMW! (On another note, I’m still astounded by her open-minded attitude of not telling me I was crazy for wanting to ship a car from Singapore to Switzerland!)

In order to maximise the receiver getting the message you intended, here are some useful guidelines for communication in email:

Make the layout of your communication easy to follow:

  • Give a brief overview
  • Use bullet points or lists where appropriate to give/ask for information
  • Write in short sentences
  • Keep your paragraphs concise
  • Finish with a list of action items, if a response is required

It’s also a good idea to maximize your likeability within email communication – not many people respond well to just a robotic list of questions and action points…

  • Start with ‘Hi’ vs. ‘Hello’
  • Use an informal tone
  • Use contractions (I’m instead of I am, we’ve instead of we have)
  • Personalize your greeting and signature
  • Include your contact information

And when you’re in an email exchange that may feel delicate or heated, be sure to avoid the following:

  • The word ‘but’ (for more on this see newsletter 4)
  • Sarcastic tone (did you REALLY think that was a good idea??)

Happy Partnering!