Oct 12 2011

The Four A’s of Email

I like to adhere to the AAAA rule of email. The four A’s of email reminds you to check you email for four items before you click the send button. Check and double check for correct Address, correct Attachments, correct Attitude and tone and state an Action you want from a recipient.

Recently, a developer in distress sent the following email to the whole company.

I can’t delete any data from any UI screen.

That test doesn’t read like an email, it doesn’t even make sense as a tweet, it’s like an unfortunate cookie message. The email should not have been sent to the whole team, which include sales people, it is to vague, does not have any clear action or request.

Communication is vital for any team and the teams running on full speed need the right level of communication in the right medium. If you are interested in learning how to effectively use email to communicate with your team I recommend the following posts.

There is a fifth A; don’t be an Ass.


Apr 14 2011

Keep is Short and Simple

No one has time to read long rambling text. One of the great things about Twitter is that it has a 140 character limit, it forces people to be concise, precise, to the point. It is so much easier to follow someone twitter than someones blog. This is also true for corporate communication. Within a team, the best way to ask short question is through instant messages such as Skype. The one draw back to instant messaging systems is that people expect instant responses. But for quick yes or no questions this is the best approach. More detailed questions can be escalated to email. But always be short and precise in emails. Always stay on point when emailing someone. If you are making multiple points separate them to their own bullets or paragraphs. Don’t intermix different ideas in the same paragraph. Always outline and simplify key points to one line bullet points. When asking for something, be clear as to what you are requesting or asking and always outline what you have tried, research, or done prior to asking.

Effective communication is a skill. There are tools, habits, and best practices that can help maximize the results of your team communication efforts. One of my most effective tool in communicating is to keep to the Three Sentences practice. One way to successfully achieve reply within three sentences is to never answer the same question twice, to refer to existing documentation, wiki sites, and other resources.