How annoying are the emails you receive from your colleagues?
Though mainly my focus is on helping sales professionals engage and connect with customers, lately I’ve also been presenting to internal teams to help them get more done each day (save time with better email skills) and boost productivity (get better results with brain-friendly messaging).
What I’ve learned is that a lot of colleagues write really obnoxious/annoying/thoughtless emails to each other. Really annoying.
There was the email that started with “Just a friendly reminder” (note – there is no such thing as a “friendly” reminder) and ended up chastising department heads for not doing what she asked and she couldn’t believe she had to write still ANOTHER EMAIL ON THE SUBJECT.
Or the one word response, “Ok” from a supervisor whose direct report provided eleven paragraphs of content and research. Ok? (Not even “Okay”! And ok what? Would it have killed him to also write, “Thank you!” or “This is great” or “I appreciate the work you did”
And the email sent colleague to colleague that simply said, “Name. I require X by the end of the day today. Thank you.” (Is adding [an inauthentic] “thank you” going to make everything all right?).
It’s almost as if all the energy is spent on being delightful to the customer and there is nothing left for each other.
Or maybe it’s because we know it’s their job to do what we’re asking so we feel like we don’t need to “sugarcoat” it.
But it isn’t sugarcoating. It’s being decent and respectful. More, it’s being smart. By helping the other person feel important, appreciated and smart, you become more likable and they want to do what you need them to do.
This doesn’t mean to blow smoke and pretend they’re important. If you need something from them – whether its numbers crunched, a room set to specs, to complete a new process – whatever, if you need something from them, then they ARE important.
So what can you do about annoying colleague emails? Start by not being that person.
Take time to be thoughtful.
Make it about their help rather than your need.
Make it easy peasy for them to do what you want. Include stuff they’ll need instead of making them search.
Write person-to-person. Stop with the officious tone and big words.
Use conversational words.
Give them a reason that might matter to them for doing what you want.
Be colleague-centric. Count the number of times you use the word “I” in your email. When most sentences begin with “I,” you’re writing about yourself and lessening the likelihood of getting best results from the other person.
Always show gratitude for what they have done.
Focus on what you want, not what you don’t.
Keep it positive.
Thank them for their extra effort – not just effort.
If you think your colleagues are talking about you behind your back, you’re probably right. And unless you have a hygiene problem, it’s going to be the way you communicate with them. You can be both selfish and self-less by helping the other person to be the hero.
What else would you add to this list? What else would you like to tell your colleagues so every time you open their email you don’t feel like you want to laugh or strangle them?
Before you go—
The whirlwind is behind us and the future is bright! With two-thirds of buyers preferring remote interactions – digital and virtual – polishing your email selling skills is key to dramatically improving sales.
It’s time to stop sending email after email only to be ignored! You can write quick, strategic, smart messages that get results and drive sales!