How To Get Better Understanding & Action From Emails & Text Messages
Raise your hand if you get angry when you receive an unexpected phone call…
Isn’t that weird?
Just 10 or so years ago it was normal to get phone calls. Today, not so much. Texting has become one of the main ways people communicate.
Part of the reason is that people value their time so much. We don’t want to yield to someone else’s time if we can help it. And when someone calls unexpectedly we’re yielding our time to them. It’s much more comfortable to receive a text message, read it and respond on our own time.
We’re communicating a lot with text. Messaging, emails, social media and more.
One of the keys to it, and really with any communication, is getting the other person or persons to understand what you’re communicating and if necessary getting them to take a desired action.
Here are some tricks for getting the right responses from your text communication.
1. Forget The Rules
There was a big blow up on Twitter where some adults were amazed at the way Millennials were tweaking the English language.
Some thought they were ruining things. And if you’ve ever texted with a person from a younger generation you’ve probably experienced it.
But the more you pay attention the more you see the genius in what’s happening.
Millennials have communicated so much via text that they’ve figured out ways to express themselves using only words (and emojis).
There are shorthand words and phrases that still communicate the intended point. That saves time. Time for all kinds of things including more communication.
Adding periods to show the difference in feeling.
Capitalizing certain letters in words to show emphasis.
It’s really genius.
Our language is changing and it’s changing in a good way. The main point is that you want to throw out all the rules. Some will continue to matter, but everything will become more efficient.
My rule for language is that if it’s more efficient then go with it. Efficient meaning that it saves time and improves understanding.
2. Limit Requests
At Ghost Blog Writers the main way I communicate with the team, with clients, with partners and with most people is via email. Even when I worked in the corporate world starting in 2007 it was that way. I prefer it and it was really taking off at that time. And it only expanded with the emergence of texting.
One big item I learned about email especially is to limit the number of requests per message.
If you bury even 3, 4 or 5 things that you want someone to do in a long email the odds of those actually getting done goes down a lot. I don’t know exactly why, but it just is that way.
You’re better off asking one thing at a time. Ask one thing. Wait until it’s done. Ask the next thing.
It takes patience, but that’s how you get things done.
3. Verbosity Loses
I want to make sure it’s clear that longform can still work. People will read something that’s long. An email. A text. A social media post.
Verbosity is using more words than are necessary to communicate something.
It’s not an easy thing to learn. I’m certainly more guilty than most of being verbose and I keep learning more and more that the more I write unnecessary things the less people will pay attention.
Why? It wastes there time. People don’t like when you waste their time.
Don’t use two words when one will do.
4. Confusion Takes Time
Millennials are doing crazy things with language and it’s great, but if you get too cute with things it can cause confusion. Anytime someone has to stop reading to think about what you’re saying it’s taking up their time. And as we’ve seen in the previous points, people don’t like to waste their time.
So it’s a balance and there is no way around learning it. You pay attention to the reactions you get. You pay attention to the results you get versus the results you want and expect. If things aren’t working don’t get angry at other people for “not getting it”. Focus on what you’re doing wrong. You’re probably confusing them.
5. Break It Up
A final point here, especially for longer messages, is to break them up. Even text messages. Don’t send one big block of text. Break it into paragraphs. Even use headings and bold the headings. Very much like this blog post. I’ll do this in some emails that get long and it works great for making sure the other person knows what I’m talking about.
We communicate with text unlike anytime in history. I really like the way things are going with language and the way younger generations are tweaking things. They’re throwing out all the old rules and focusing on efficiency and effectiveness. It’s all about saving time and I’m all for it.