According to a survey done by ideas group on 60 companies in the Middle East, 85% of the workforce conflict stems out of miscommunication.
The study was conducted across companies in different industries: Government, FMCG, Aviation, Industrial, Banking and Finance Telecom and IT, in 11 countries in the following cities: Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Jeddah, Dammam, Riyadh, Kuwait City, Doha, Muscat, Damascus, Amman, Manama, Cairo, Casablanca and Beirut.
When working in virtual teams or working across the region, miscommunication is magnified by the lack of proper writing skills, whether in emails, memos, instant messaging (IM) or even blogs and other social media.
So to simplify things for you, we came up with this checklist of 9 items to look at before sending emails:
- Simplify your message: In Business it is not about literature or chic fancy words, the more simple your message is, the less misunderstanding it generates. So keep your sentences short and straight to the point.
- Use bullet points: People like to see a summary of your ideas, so if you put your main ideas into bullets, it will help the reader scan quickly through it and this will speed up the communication process.
- Use punctuation in the right place: Each punctuation has a meaning a question mark (?) is to ask a question, an exclamation mark as the Meriam-Webster Dictionary puts it “ is used to indicate forceful utterance or strong feeling”. So ending a sentence with an exclamation mark is like a warning sign…two exclamation marks are two warning signs.
- Never write full sentences in CAPS: Capital letters or “caps” are a sign of shouting or yelling, so unless you want to yell at your reader do not write in caps.
- Use calm colors: Using red fonts when writing emails also indicates anger, so whenever it is possible try to use blue or green instead for highlighting.
- Make sure your email has a subject: Sending an email without a subject can be frustrating for people who use the search function of their inboxes, it helps the reader understand the email content.
- If you send an email at 1 am then what you are really saying to the reader is : "you can call me anytime you want" Respecting Work Life Balance is extremely important. Unless it is urgent don't send emails after working hours, you can always schedule to send later.
- Avoid the URGENT and (!)High importance/priority signs: Some people are just used to the habit of sending all their emails with HIGH IMPORTANCE or HIGH PRIORITY; So when they have an issue with a real high importance, how will they let their readers know that this one is really important? I once received one of those with an email that said Happy Holidays. This will only stress the reader.
- And finally, read the email before sending it; we discover a lot of mistakes just by reading it again. If it is an email going to important person, try to get a colleague to read it as well; some sentences might make sense to you but not to the reader.