Have you noticed how even the smallest change in punctuation or emphasis utterly transforms the tone, and therefore the meaning, of an email?
As an example, let’s take the case of a very brief reply to an associate, confirming the time and place for a meeting:
OK, it’ a date
I received this yesterday, and it is simple, straightforward, and unambiguous. Also lacking any tone-of-voice.
So let’s play with it a little:
OK, it’s a date! much more enthusiastic?
OK, it’s a date… if you insist…
OK. It’s a date. a little firmer, with more authority?
ok its a date casual and relaxed…or careless and rushed?
You get the picture, and we’re only using 5 syllables here, so imagine how easy it is to introduce emphasis – even of the wrong kind – in a lengthier message.
So next time you’re rushing to hit that SEND button, take a valuable moment to re-read your message. Make sure it sounds how you feel, as well as says what you mean.
After all, you need both content and tone to make a complete message.
This is just one of the techniques we present in our forthcoming “Effective Emails” e-learning course. For other useful ideas, please explore our current e-learning library…
PS. That headline – be aware that to some people LOL means “lots of love” whereas to others it translates as “laughs out loud”. Clearly, not to be confused…