Archiv der Kategorie: Communication

Communication consists of perception, thought models and communication behavior.

Em@ilettes become more important

In Germany, we receive on average more than twenty business-related e-mails per day – almost twice as much as three years before. If we assume a serious processing, then reading and answering takes on average five minutes, which leads to more than one and a half hours of email time without working on the actual task. The more emails someone receives, the less time remains for the work resulting in poor quality and email ping pong whereby the burden of emails increases continuously. Although one could reduce the effort for all participants by a conscious email handling and a certain self-discipline – e.g. by a common Em@ilette.

The following approaches could increase the quality of an email and thus reduce the processing time for everyone.

  • Recipient-oriented
    Lengthy self-adulation undermines the recipients‘ attention. More value is created for them by formulating the message from their point of view. This so-called PERYOU takes the interests of the addressees into account and is limited to what is expected of them.
    Thus, listing offers, which do not differ eventually from those of the competitors, does not
    create any curiosity – „We deliver the newest …“
    Writing from the viewpoint of the recipients, than one considers their language, thinking, inner state and situation – „You avoid with this … “
  • Solution-oriented
    The senders often think that they have to explain their problems to the receivers. One reason could be the justification or excuse for a late or incomplete delivery. Or to valorize the own achievement by explaining the difficulty of the task. Or one doesn’t know what to say, because there is currently no solution. Or one cannot anticipate the target group and therefore cannot apply PERYOU.
    The detailed description of the problem and its causes extend the discussion and still does not provide a solution – „Implementation is difficult, because we encounter everywhere resistance, which leads to …“
    Whereas looking at the solution describes the future result – „You get …“
  • KISS
    The English abbreviation KISS (i.e. Keep It Simple, Smart) means in German ‘Brevity is the soul of the spice’. The shorter an email, the easier it can be processed. You’ve found the right length, when you can’t delete anything. Simple and short sentences have a maximum of 12 words. You avoid all kinds of filler words (see below). Clarity is enhanced by one thought per sentence, one topic per paragraph and no more than fiveplusminustwo topics per email.
    In most cases, active instead of passive sentences and verbs instead of substantiations lead to a better understanding – „The administrator activates your account today. Tomorrow you can use the new feature.“
    The icing on the cake in effective emails is positive formulations that clearly name the content – „You get …“ instead of the undefined negative sentence „You cannot get everything.

In addition, formal aspects can be built into an Em@ilette: a meaningful subject line; clear rules for the use of CC; suggestions for personal salutations; examples of appropriate greetings; a basic structure of the content, such as introduction, main body, binding closure, and so on.

Bottom line: The mutual exchange of information plays an important role in our everyday lives. In addition to personal meetings, the written exchange of information has shifted from physical letters to e-mails. The possibilities and the continuous acceleration create „faster disasters“ for those involved. Therefore it makes sense to consider the right use of email. With this article you have an impression of the possibilities in terms of content: Recipient and solution orientation and the shortness of an email. The fact that the number of emails is increasing demonstrates that Em@ilettes are becoming also for you increasingly important.

P.S. Some filler words

a little bit, a long time ago, absolutely, accordingly, actually, adequately, after all, after that, again, all, all around, all in all, almost, already, also, always, any, anyone, anyway, apparently, approximately, as follows, as it were, as well … as, assuredly, at all, at best, at last, at least, at long last, at the most, barely, basically, bluntly, but, by all appearances, by far, by no means, by the way, carefully, certainly, clearly, commonly, comparatively, completely, conceivably, consequently, consistently, constantly, decisively, definitely, downright, each, easy, especially, even, ever, everywhere, evidently, exactly, exceedingly, excellent, here and there, existent, expressly, extremely, fairly, few, finally, for real, for sure, for the second time, for the umpteenth time, for this, formally, fortunately, frequently, from time to time, fully, furthermore, generally known, heartily, here and there, however, I think, I would say, I believe, in a way, in all clearness, in any case, in approximately, in contrast, in general, in itself, in and of itself, in my opinion, in places, in principle, in spite of everything, in this context, in turn, incessantly, incredibly, indeed, indisputably, indubitably, irrelevant, just, just like that, largely, maybe, meanwhile, mind you, more or less, moreover, most of time, mostly, multiple, namely, naturally, nearly, never, nevertheless, nonetheless, now, now and then, obviously, occasionally, oddly enough, of course, often, on the one hand, on the other hand, once, once again, finally, one more time, only, originally, partout, per se, plentiful, possibly, practically, preferably, presumably, presumed, probably, quite, rarely, really, recently, regardless, relatively, repeatedly, senseless, several, simply, smoothly, so, so to say, so to speak, somehow, something, sometime, sometimes, somewhere, straight, straightway, strictly, strikingly, substantially, suddenly, sustained, Thank God, the truth is, theoretically, there, thereby, therefore, ultimately, unconscionable, under no circumstances, undoubtedly, unequivocally, unfortunately, unquestionably, unspeakably, usually, very, visibly, well, without doubt, without exception, without this, yet, you could say

When the noise is not not perceived

The dilemma with PR is the way in which publications are used to consciously affect public opinion with methods adopted from propaganda, e.g., context hiding, new word creations or exaggerations. At the beginning of the twentieth century these effective practices were abused. These crimes cast a shadow across nowadays PR efforts. The conceit that lies in all measures to better communication conceals the fact that A L L messages  A L W A Y S have an effect on the target group. Each message is interpreted personally, whether it has been consciously tailored to manipulate or whether it simply produces an unintended effect. The vast amount of information generates today a noise that cannot be avoided.

Fatally, even messages that are not consciously designed can have an effect that, in extreme cases, turns against the real message. For this reason, even the biggest adversaries of opinion-making are obliged to take care of their messages – or to remain silent forever, i.e. not to send any more messages. The following points ameliorate the intended effect.

  • Avoid harmful distortions
    The meaning arises in the mind of the recipient by harmonizing the message with the available ideas of the mind. The word choice plays an important role, even if it cannot guarantee that the desired effect will be achieved. However, stigma words that load a message with unpleasant emotions can predictably distort the meaning.
    Publications of all kinds should therefore be searched for elements that unintentionally distort the message – e.g. cultural diversity instead of multiculti; affiliation instead of solidarity; adjustment instead of destruction.
  • Reinforce the proper sense
    At the same time, the smart word choice underlines a message. It works through the linking with supporting thoughts. Individual words can provide the recipient with confident content that promotes the actual message.
    For this reason, publications should be supported with appropriate metaphors and encouraging words – e.g. location preservation instead of job cuts; design framework instead of boundary; autonomous instead of liable.
  • Synchronize all channels
    Messages can also be framed with supporting multi-media contents. For this purpose a luring design is chosen – a pleasant font, well readable paragraphs, and conducive visualizations in pleasant colors. Particularly visual elements prepare messages in such a way that the consciousness adapts before the actual content is perceived to a certain interpretation that facilitates understanding and acceptance – for example through the hue of an image or the choice of a pleasant view point that triggers positive associations. In the case of sound and moving picture broadcasts, the messages are shaped by the speaking style as well as music and sounds.
    The formats should be chosen to intensify the desired effect – the image of a lonesome bay instead of an overcrowded beach; healthy instead of sick; forest instead of clear cutting.
  • Attentively processing feedback
    Sending the message is not the end of the story. The target group or the counterpart provide afterwards an echo that shows what and how well the content has been received. A direct answer is the easiest to process – No; Not like this; I do not agree. Indirect feedback can also be understood – Yes, but …; However …; And most of all ….
    Therefore, following message dissemination, the reception channels should be opened – provide occasions for discussion and comments, e.g. on/offline mailboxes, online forums or workshops.
  • Positive formulation is clearer
    The actual message can also be sharpened by always using positive expressions. Rejecting statements and generalizations are inaccurate because they do not say what one actually wants. – not: not, never, always, none, all, nowhere, someone, the company, the state, the world, life, etc.
    For this reason, it is suggested to use descriptive statements in order to clarify the message – exactly when? Where? With whom? What’s the point? For what reason?

Bottom line: Consciously dealing with the own messages, in order to make it easier for the target group to understand, is a duty of the broadcasters. Communications are disseminated in order to achieve a certain effect. To this end, one avoids distortions, strengthens the actual message through smart preparation, exploits all multi-media possibilities, hears and processes the target group feedback and formulates statements positively. The desire to avoid this form of influence for not being suspected of manipulation calls the communication measure itself into question. It is precisely a matter of clarifying one’s view point and convincing the recipients. If this would be unethical PR, then communication would no longer be possible. The point is to prepare your message, which is justified from your own point of view, in such a way that it achieves the desired effect. If the noise is not not perceived, it is important to describe the own standpoint as simply and clearly as possible.