This article concludes the three-part series on effective communication and focuses specifically on written communication. Why? Because once it’s out there, it’s out there forever so you should be sure that whatever you wrote reflects positively on you.
Following are some common sense guidelines.
- Your messages should be written clearly using proper grammar and free of spelling errors. Spell check isn’t enough because many words will show up as being spelled correctly even though they are not correct. Many times it’s a good idea to print something out and read a hard copy – mistakes will often jump out on the printed page.
- Make sure the message you are trying to communicate is the one that is being conveyed. The picture shown in this article is a perfect example of what NOT to do.
- Limit e-mails to one subject with the subject line clearly specified. Send e-mails only to those who need it; don’t copy in a lot of people unless it’s absolutely necessary.
- Avoid long, run on sentences and even longer paragraphs. Break up text so that it’s easy to read. Using bullet points is often a useful and appropriate tool.
- A good rule of thumb is to write the way you would speak – presenting material in a logical order and eliminating unnecessary words.
- Avoid repeating words if you can. Make use of your thesaurus.
- Be sure the points you are trying to make are clearly articulated and that if you expect something from the reader, you clearly outline what you need and the timeframe within which you need it.
- If necessary, repeat important messages for emphasis.
Take a look at the following example that is based on a real e-mail. Unless you want to live in infamy like the following author, follow the tips outlined above.
From: Facilities Manager
To: All Employees
Subject: HEALTHY WASHROOMS
It has come to my attention that some employees aren’t flushing toilets and marinating other good sanitation practices.
Out of respect for your fellow employees – I expect everyone to be self-cleaning – this isn’t a Facility Services Maintenance item.
Your total cooperation is appreciated!
In conclusion, remember to proff-read wat you right befor you sent it to make shure their arent’ any sppeling or grammer erorrs an that it make scents.
Write with the mind-set that your memos and/or e-mails could be preserved for a very long time and eventually published in a written publication (paper or online) such as icedjamb.com.