By Team Vibons   |    4 min read


By Team Vibons
 4 min read

It is 1 pm. Selena comes back from lunch and sits at her desk. What's that? There is a loooong email from the manager. She reads the first part... She thinks he may be congratulating those with a good sales performance... She reads a little more! No, he is making an overall assessment of sales results... She continues... I wonder if he wants us to send the report. A little more, a little more...

This is the same story all over the office every day. We receive numerous emails that are incomprehensible. It is a job in itself to figure them out in between calls, meetings, and other messages. The rules of writing has changed in the era of fast communication. However, most of us are not fully aware of this. So, what should we look out for? Simplicity, technique, and clarity.

This is the essence of writing simply. The simpler your message is, the easier for the recipient to keep it in his/her mind. Do not write it as if you are authoring a composition. With longer emails, people lose attention and start skipping parts, and the main message is missed. The main rule is very simple: Less is more.

Imagine yourself one hundred years ago. You are a war correspondent... What would you do if telegram lines broke down frequently or soldiers attempted to stop you while were trying to send your news piece to the newspaper? You'd probably send the "most critical" part of the message first. This is how headlines are thought to have emerged in newspapers.

Let's move from telegrams to today's technology: Email! In the old days, wars prevented us from receiving the information, but today lack of attention is the reason... Infrared cameras were used to study how the eyes move and how we read. How do we read emails?

When the email is long, we read the first three sentences at most, and then being glancing at it. Do you remember the "introduction-body-conclusion" technique that was taught in high school? Well, forget about it when writing an email. And why? Because, when we write in this way, we leave the main message to the end. The person reading the email loses attention as the message gets longer. As a result, the main message we left to the end gets read superficially and is overlooked.

The reverse triangle technique is the right way to do it. Action-Details-Conclusion. Key message first, details afterwards... Due to heavy workloads, we all want to see the action first. Just like the newspapers. We get the main message the moment we look at the headline. In the same way, the reader should get your message from the first couple of sentences.

An interesting test took place at Stanford University in the past. Participating students were divided into two groups. The first group was asked to tell the other student group well-known music pieces just by tapping on the table. The other group would try to guess the music. Those tapping were asked to guess the results. "Very easy, they can figure out at least 50 percent," they replied. Yet, only 3-percent of the music played was guessed correctly.

This is what we call "Information Blindness." When we relay information, we assume that the person on the other side is as familiar with the issue as we are. We do this often in emails. We say, "Please take the necessary action," and forward the message. Thinking, "They will understand it easily." However, in reality, the reader becomes exhausted, going up and down the correspondence to make something of the email. We type “OK” and click send. The recipient thinks, “OK, but to what? The first or the second issue?” Exchanges drag on, work gets delayed...

A study reveals that people's IQ’s drop an average of 10 points due to busy email traffic. “Don’t make me think!” Don’t make me think! Distracted with a myriad of emails, calls, and work, the mind wants to know what to do by reading something just once. He would put it off when the job is a little vague or the situation is difficult to grasp. Do not force the recipient into looking for what you want. Rather than being a dark room, be simple and clear like a bright room with sunlight. Don't let the issue hang in the air as in these examples... Be this clear...

Finally, anytime you forward a chain email, remember this: Would you prefer that the recipient hear the tapping or the melody itself?

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