With email being one of the main modes of communication used in most organisations, it’s shocking to learn that 50% of the messages you send are likely to be misunderstood.
So how can you cut through and make sure that your intentions and message are heard loud and clear?
The answer is simple: incorporate more emotional intelligence. Not only does having a high EQ make you a better communicator in face-to-face conversations, but it can also help you craft emails that are clearer and less likely to be misconstrued.
Here are five things you need to consider when writing your next email.
Take stock of your emotions
Just like any piece of writing, emails aren’t created in a vacuum. Meaning that the emotions you have when writing can have a huge impact on the overall message, tone and effect of your email.
Before you shoot off a reply, take a second to assess yourself. How did this email make you feel? Are there unrelated feelings – frustrations at home, work, or in any other area of your life – that could be seeping through?
Take a break
When in doubt, give yourself some space and come back to the email later.
If you’re worried about taking too long to reply, you can shoot off a quick email noting that you’ve received the message and that you’ll be able to address any requests or questions when you get a chance.
Lots can get lost in translation
This works both ways – an email you interpreted as a personal slight may just be a quick message sent by a colleague with little thought.
And at the same time, even if you spend a good while crafting your email, the lack of cues that come with in-person communication make emailing a challenge.
Pay careful attention to the words you use and your ‘voice’ – especially if your email involves bad news or any sort of criticism.
Don’t forget – it’s a conversation!
When we’re busy and on the go, it can be easier to just send off a quick email without a thought. Straight and to the point, all business.
But like any method of communication, email is a conversation. And eventually, if your recipient receives email after email of requests from you, they may start to feel your relationship is a little one-sided.
Don’t forget a greeting and a bit of small talk. Ask how they’re doing and make quick conversation – show genuine interest in the person. This can help to bridge the gap between you and your recipient, making it a little easier to overcome email’s shortcomings.
When in doubt, take things offline
You’ve probably walked out of a meeting at least once and thought, “That could have been an email.” Well, it turns out that sometimes, the opposite is true as well.
Some conversations simply won’t work online, separated from context and in-person cues. If there is an important matter you feel could be easily misconstrued, it may be best to schedule a quick phone call or meeting instead.
Want to learn how to write an emotionally intelligent email? Our Writing Professional Emails course utilises the power of your EQ to craft more effective emails.