PRZOOM - /newswire/ -
Oakland, CA, United States, 2012/01/18 - Clear, focused e-mail enhances a company's image. Unclear, long-winded writing can lead clients and customers to ignore an e-mail. Investing in writing skills pays off in enhanced professional credibility and messages that get results - WriteitWell.com.
E-Mail Education: Global Headaches and Universal Best Practices
Confusing, long-winded e-mail is a problem without borders. A 2010 Plantronics study found that e-mail is now the primary medium for all business communication, and that 40 percent of respondents “confessed that they have received e-mails that made no sense whatsoever.”
“These days, e-mail writing is business writing,” states Natasha Terk, president of the Oakland/Singapore-based company Write It Well. “It’s crucial for multinational companies to get e-mail right the first time.”
An HR director recently asked Terk to help workers write better e-mail at a global financial-services company in Asia. “When we get confusing e-mails, we have to ask someone in California or Germany to write back for clarification. That back-and-forth can delay us for days so that we can’t close the ticket. And that affects the bottom line.”
Problematic e-mail also damages a company’s credibility. In a July BBC article, William Dutton of Oxford University’s Internet Institute said that because of sloppy online language,“a consumer might be wary” of goods’ or services’ value. In those cases, faulty language “could be a killer issue” that drives business away.
Pew fellow Deborah Fallows has written to Write It Well that “E-mail grew up in the lawless frontier of the Internet, without the traditional rules of old-fashioned letter writing.” Yet the language in employees’ e-mail can still reflect badly on an entire organization.
The Wall Street Journal reported in March that employers “say business-school graduates tend to ramble … or pen too-casual e-mails.” Morgan Stanley’s global head of recruiting says associates “have trouble presenting information to clients. Some tend to write long e-mails when only a short list is needed,” while their managers must routinely look “over new hires’ e-mails before they’re sent out to clients.” And the Confederation of British Industry reports that half of British companies “have had to invest in remedial training” for employees’ writing skills.
Terk says that “E-mail writing skills can make or break an employee’s career or an employer’s reputation.” Peter May, president of Greener World Media, tells Write It Well that “It’s surprising how many people fail to see that writing is part of their skill sets and a necessary contribution to their employers’ success.”
The solution is for companies to invest in e-mail writing as a core business skill. Columbia Law School now uses the book E-Mail: A Write It Well Guide to teach future lawyers how to write more effectively.
“Write It Well’s book should be required reading for both Internet newbies and new entrants to the workplace,” says Director of Corporate Communications David Krane of Google.
Terk explains,“Our E-Mail book is an eminently practical training tool.” She says,“Our job-relevant, six-step writing plan helps our readers plan clear, effective messages that get results and earn their own readers’ respect.”
The book is suitable for organization-wide trainings and “can give individual employees increased confidence as communicators. It can also give an entire company a more polished and professional image,” says Terk.
Terk is also the author of the forthcoming e-book Concise, Clear E-Mail: A Write It Well Guide. The e-book will offer readers in-depth strategies for drafting crisp, focused e-mail paragraphs and subject lines.
Clear, well-organized language sends a signal of overall competency. Write It Well helps businesses and employees see past the ephemeral nature of e-mail to build and reinforce credibility through every outgoing message.