Doesn't email two seem like a different person than email one? The message is brief but there's a different, more optimistic tone. Plus, email two helps Barry appear as a supportive leader rather than a difficult manager.
Let's break it down line by line.
Thanks for your efforts so far on Project Alpha. We still have a lot of work to do before the project is completed.
Friendly and encouraging. A tone setter for the entire message.
Gina — can you please check our data again to make sure the numbers add up? In particular, make sure our efficiency stats are 100 percent correct.
Now, Barry is clear on what, exactly, he would like Gina to check on.
Steve — stop by my office on Tuesday when you can. I finally have feedback from upstairs on your Project Beta proposal.
This time, Steve know what Barry plans to discuss. Not as scary anymore!
Marshall — are you ready with the analysis or do you need more time? If you need a couple more days, it's fine. Let me know.
In email one, it felt as if Barry called out Marshall for not finished on time. Now, we know the situation isn't that serious.
As you compose your own business emails, remember:
- A little small talk goes a long way.
- Don't leave out key details or make people guess your intention.
- Ask yourself, "Would I understand what I mean?" If the answer is "No," then add details to support your message.
- If you're in a leadership role, remember your staff will scrutinize every word you use. Read every message thoroughly before it's sent so you command respect but also treat your team the right way.
Danny Rubin is the author of "Wait, How Do I Write This Email?" and "Wait, How Do I Promote My Business?" For more communication tips, follow him on Twitter at @DannyHRubin.
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