Productivity | Work | Remote Work
Electronic Communication Etiquette Tips, Explained Through Cat Imagery
Level Up Your E-mail Practices With Some Tips and Exemplars From Our Furry Friends
Let’s talk about electronic communication.
Before COVID-19 e-mail was a dicey area where words were at high risk of being misread, misintrepreted and shifted around. Now, in the COVIDera, it is replacing what would normally be a “pick up the phone” or “walk down the hall” conversation.
Potential for greatness or for double trouble.
After reading Jack Shepherd’s Every Type of Zoom Call Participant, Illustrated By Cats, I was inspired to apply the concept of using cat photography to explain a concept. In my world, electronic communication has replaced the century old practice of “walking into the next office to ask a question” while completely transforming my daily enviornment. I’m constantly wondering how I can be more effective and efficient now that it takes up the majority of my day.
To help illustrate some tips to increase your mindfulness around constructing e-mails, Shani Harmon’s February 2017 Harvard Business Review article, “How To Make Sure That Your E-mails Give The Right Impression,” describes some excellent practices that can help you level-up your e-mail game to prevent some unwanted drama.
So, how can these cats and tidbits of advice help you level up your e-mail game, creating more productivity for yourself and your workplace?
Avoid Long Novellas.
If people want to read a book, they will read a book. If it’s going to take that long to explain (or write), you should probably arrange to have a meeting.
Know Your Audience and How the Message Will Be Received
All that matters is how your audience reads your words and what message they perceive becomes their truth.
If they preceive your tone to be angry, that’s what they perceive, no matter what your intention in. Now you have work to do.
Use words and your knowledge of audience to your advantage. When in doubt, you should probably pick up the phone and call.
What’s the Purpose?
Great quote from the article:
I think we could all take a cue from Mark Twain’s writing style. He developed a unique and memorable voice, relentessly editing himself, and was easy to understand.
There are many ideas in the world. Which is the one that you need to communicate electronically? Why now and for what purpose? If you don’t know, maybe you should pick up the phone and call somebody to brainstorm.
Use Greetings and Sign-Offs To Create A Positive Atmosphere
“Without the social cues — voice tone, facial expressions, and physical gestures — that we relay on in interpret communication, we are prone to conclude the worst.” Be respectful and use the structure of greetings and sign-offs to help frame the tone. If you don’t have time for that, maybe consider not sending the e-mail right away.
Clarity for All Questions and Requests
Okay, so who is going to do what? Or what do you need from people?
Think about it like reading a newspaper: people will only read so much for so long. Put the action items in the top, use clear language, and utilize the format to
- bring attention to action items and questions
If you’re unsure, ask the question over the phone first before sending the e-mail.
- refer to Harmon’s article for some more indepth tips about levelling up your e-mail practices;
- be mindful of your e-mail construction;
- approach e-mail, along with everything that you do now and post COVIDera with positive intent;
- if you’re unsure, don’t send and talk to someone about it;
- go read the Every Type of Zoom Call Participant, Illustrated By Cats article and be honest about which participant category you fall into for the Zoom call.
Happy e-mailing and communicating!