Limit Details to Improve Communication

Is your email communication too wordy?

Founder and President of EchelonCommunicate, Melissa Gordon shares great insight on training and developing our teams to use e-mail. As leaders, we value attention to detail. We thrive on comprehensive project plans that describe every aspect of a change initiative. Yet, when it comes to e-mail, long, detailed communications can lose your audience. In this video, Melissa shares practical advice to limit details so that you can improve your e-mail communication. With colleagues receiving thousands of e-mail messages each week, e-mail is not the place to think out loud. Instead, e-mail communication should be limited to high-level overviews and team meetings should explore lengthier discussions on a specific topic. Take your e-mail communication to the next level by training your team on the best tips to improve your email from Melissa’s insights. Watch this and other videos on training and development today on Leadercast!
Generally, I think in communication that thoroughness is not your friend. Like half of communication needs to be less thorough. So when we're really trying to get someplace, like let's turn here, and here, and here, that's great but most of the time we want broad brush strokes. We want to get the gist of it quickly. We don't have time for deep, long emails. It's a productivity problem. And people who don't realize that wow, when I get your in mail my eyes glass over. I think, "Oh no. I can't deal with this right now," and it gets put in the queue for later. So it's really important to choose your communication, know your audience, audience objectives, key messages. It's as true in email as it is in a speech. And when you're dealing with somebody who has a very little time, which is pretty much, all of us, just get to the point and then there can be a phone conversation for a little more color, a little more to it, we can have a conversation. When it comes to emails, some of us are writers and some of us also are think aloud. We process out loud, and so we like to go into it and sort it out. Its super helpful to have an audience, because something happens with an audience that doesn't happen by yourself. And so when people are writing long emails, they're going there and they're actually in very much relationship with you when they're creating that extensive email. And what happens on the other side is just the context in which it's being received. Well, we don't have control over that. So I think some of us can have lengthy email relationships. And then we also recognize when it's not going to work. Think about double click with email. It's almost asking for permission to give more information in your email. So your first click is top line, "Here's what we need to cover. Can I send you more on that? Do you want to do a phone call?" That gives you permission then. The person's in control. "Yeah, I'd rather do a phone call." "No, lay it on me. Bring it on. Give me everything." And then you've had permission, and so that mitigates the feeling of, "Gosh, do they not understand what my life is, that I don't have time to go into this now or . . ." It appears on our phone and we know that if it's appearing on our phone that it's important, and it's timely. At the same time that if there's a great deal of information, then we don't want to deal with it now.

Melissa Gordon

Melissa Gordon is President and founder of EchelonCommunicate, LLC, the Leader’s communication company. Working at the intersection of great leadership and powerful communication, Echelon provides high impact learning programs, execut...

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