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  • Don’t Let a Communication Blunder Hurt Your Career

    Have you ever had to recall an email, issue corrections to a previous document or made a communication blunder that left you feeling a little embarrassed for not having caught the error? It happens and can even hurt your career.

    Communication Fail

    Not all communication errors can be undone

    Many people get so close to their work they no longer see the details. Often something seemingly obvious is overlooked because although your eyes see the words, your mind skips over them because it already knows what the words say or mean. Here’s a real-world case in point.

    When I worked for a technology provider one of the executives included me on an email asking recipients to review the announcement of a customer program for a new service initiative. I finally had time to look at it over lunch at my desk. I opened the email and read the first sentence. I couldn’t believe my eyes and concluded I must have read it wrong. I looked again. Then again. Nope, I read it correctly. I ran up the stairs to the exec’s office, stopping on the way to tell his admin to NOT launch the announcement under any circumstances. I interrupted the meeting in his office only to receive a barrage of angry words and reasons why my review was too late and couldn’t rival the 12 people who already had reviewed and approved it.

    I couldn’t get a word in with all of his blustering. Desperately, I wrote the name of the new service program vertically on his blank whiteboard – one word on each line – then I circled the letters that began every line. I turned to the executive and asked him if he really wanted to launch the program today. He stared at the white board slack-jawed remembering that 12 people – very smart business and technology experts – had been working with this program title for three months and never saw what I saw in seconds.

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  • Of the many reasons to write more briefly, email may be the most important.

    Did you know, an average employee now sends or receives 121 emails per day, according to a recent report by the Radicati Group. If you are an executive or lead a large team, you probably receive a far greater amount. With so many emails flooding our inboxes, it’s no wonder response to emails can be slow.

    Is there a way to get better response to your emails? The answer is yes.

    The email app Boomerang conducted a data study and found that emails between seventy-five and one hundred words in length had the best response rates. Although the response rate diminished slowly after that, talk to any busy person and they’ll tell you they prefer emails that are brief and get straight to the point.

    Keep your emails BRIEF, number or list key points, use a subject line that clearly describes the email content, and directly tell recipients what you need them to do and by when.

  • If you can’t bother to get the details right, what does that say about your company, product or service? Overlooked details —  no matter how small — can add up to create the wrong impression about you and your company. Worse yet, they can create confusion that leads to lost opportunities and sales.

    Suppose you sent out a direct mail piece, handed out a brochure or launched a website that misspelled the words “accuracy” or “quality”? The error just might overshadow the message. Perhaps the product specifications on your website don’t match the specifications in your product catalog. Not only can that impact your credibility, but the confusion could cost you a sale. I once worked for an educational company who put the wrong phone number in their school and library mailer. The phone number looked correct, but no one actually called the number to verify its accuracy. Imagine the surprise of the recipients who reached a phone sex line when they called to inquire about an encyclopedia. Are you starting to get the picture? (more…)