by Lauren Shapiro*
“Can you email me?”
How many times a day do you hear that question? In BurrellesLuce Client Services, we hear it quite often and rightfully so; we are officially citizens of a digital era, habitually bound to the confines of the written word. When you study computer-mediated communication (CMC) or for purposes of this blog… email there are a lot of big words and complex theories to sum up a very simple concept – How you type your message is equally important, if not more important, than the actual message itself.
Unfortunately for most of us, we have yet to find the Emily Post of netiquette. However, we do know there are many variables that can contribute to an email going bad. The most overlooked (and most dangerous) is the misinterpretation of email tone. Studies show that email receivers tend to experience a neutrality effect: Recipients often interpret positively toned emails as neutral and neutrally toned emails as negative. This makes our job as email senders very difficult and forces us to be mindful of how others will read our message.
It is extremely important to take a step back and re-read your email from the receiver’s perspective and then edit to ensure that the positive nature of your email comes across clearly. In a post on www.sitepoint.com, Alyssa Gregory discusses how a poorly toned email can easily be misinterpreted. This misinterpretation poses a threat to the budding e-lationship that is being built.
Whether it’s in PR, marketing, or client services, what steps are you taking to help ensure that you are effectively communicating with your constituents? What steps can we take as an industry to help promote good communication?
*Bio: Soon after graduating from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, in 2006 with a B.A. in communication and a B.S. in business/marketing, I joined the BurrellesLuce client services team. In 2008, I completed my master’s degree in corporate and organizational communications and now work as the supervisor of BurrellesLuce Express client services. I am passionate about researching and understanding the role of email in shaping relationships from a client relation/service standpoint as well as how miscommunication occurs within email, which was the topic of my thesis. Through my posts on Fresh Ideas, I hope to educate and stimulate thoughtful discussions about corporate communications and client relations, further my own knowledge on this subject area, as well as continue to hone my skills as a communicator. Twitter: @_LaurenShapiro_ LinkedIn: laurenrshapiro Facebook: BurrellesLuce