There are moments when something as mundane as a well-crafted email evokes awe. Call me a communication nerd, but I'm on a daily quest to master this art.
A beautifully composed email with a simple layout? Delivered in advance, and it’s structured with information in order of importance? That's my kind of joy.
I appreciate it when someone invests time and resources to plan their communications. You can tell when they do. They bundle messages and write one email, not two or three. They organize information, prioritizing my attention and action over their convenience. Best of all, they strategically exclude information that doesn’t pertain to me.
A skilled communicator anticipates the needs of diverse stakeholders. They identify key messages and schedule these for optimal impact. Forcing action is never the goal; rather, it's about empowering the audience with what they need—time, knowledge, resources—to act willingly. The result yields significant returns.
What defines an objectively "good" email? Three interconnected qualities: a visually appealing layout, timely delivery, and targeted stakeholder information.
Respect stakeholder time. Arrange your message so readers see the most important things first. Prioritize your content from top to bottom, and always place a call to action first. It’s not kind to make stakeholders hunt for information in an overloaded message or sift through a long email thread.
Identify stakeholder needs. Recognize that different stakeholders have different needs. Messages crafted for the general public or attendees are different than those designed for insiders who are expected to perform specific tasks or duties.
Understand how readers consume content. Most people follow an "F" pattern when they read, scanning through the email after the first sentence. This common reading pattern justifies using bullet lists and leading with a good verb.
Equip and empower stakeholders. Arrange your message so stakeholders can engage in the most meaningful way, resulting in a purposeful experience. When stakeholders have the right information and can find it, the impact they can make increases.
Effective communication is more than sending messages. It's a purposeful orchestration that values others' time, respects their needs, and empowers them to make impactful decisions and actions.
Your partners in leadership.