Efficient communication is an essential component of time management. However, sometimes we pad our communications with so much “fluff” that the main point is lost or hard to find. This wastes both our time and the reader’s time. We have enough to do in our busy lives that we cannot afford to wade through extraneous information looking for the main point. With a few simple steps, we can streamline our communications and save everyone time.
Steps to Efficient Communication
1. Shorten your greeting.
When we’re typing emails or leaving voicemails, it can be tempting to start off with a flowery greeting. After all, we can’t see the person we are speaking to so we want to convey our tone with words instead of body language. However, these extra sentences just add bulk to your message. Stick to a brief, simple greeting and get on with your point!
2. Don’t Overwhelm Your Reader
When your email or memo appears cluttered and lengthy, people are far less likely to read it. They see its length and don’t want to take the time to read it all now, so they put it in the “later pile.” Before you send a business email, ask yourself: “What is the main point I want this message to convey?” If there are superfluous sentences that don’t support this main point, delete them. You wouldn’t want your reader to ignore an important email because it looked too long, especially if the main point is actually very short.
3. Organize Longer Messages
If your message truly is lengthy and necessary, then organize it into headings and bullet points so it’s easy to navigate. If you need your reader to take action from your email, make that explicit in both the greeting and the closing. Make directions simple, clear, and to the point.
4. Don’t Hit Send
Before you hit send on that email, ask yourself if you really need to send it. Email is such an easy form of communication that it can be quickly abused. Does the person you’re sending this message to really need this information? Or will it become one of countless other messages in his or her inbox that gets deleted?
Time Management Karma
Keeping your business communications short and to the point not only saves you the time of crafting an overly long and complex message, but it’s also a good way of practicing “Time Management Karma”: treating other people’s time the way you want yours to be treated. We all struggle to stay on top of our emails and phone calls. Sifting through the mountains of information we receive every day can be daunting. Don’t add to someone else’s mountain with unnecessary information.
Besides, if people know that you don’t send excess, un-needed information, they are far more likely to open your email in the first place.
Check out The Time Diet’s next free presentation for students at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, AZ on Monday September 10th 2012 at 7:00pm. Time Management for Student Survival
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