Finding the right tone for an email should likely be an introductory course for any young professional about to step into the workforce. It should also be retaught to any seasoned professional, especially in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
How workers communicate during the COVID-19 pandemic remains one of the most challenging aspects of the workday. The normal means of communication — in-person desk stops, quick shouts across the office — have been sacrificed for strictly digital communication.
Language, as a whole, cannot be more important right now, for both productivity purposes and emotional purposes, which is why workers should be focusing on empathy.
Some of the basic rules of writing an effective email is being mindful of emotional intelligence. It’s argued that being emotionally intelligent can create a clear and efficient path for communication, especially for leaders and mangers that are often the last person a worker wants to hear from. Diffusing anxiety via email is simple as managing your emotions, showing empathy, and providing an outlet for collaboration and feedback.
Here’s an example of managing these pitfalls:
Avoid sending messages or emails when you’re angry or frustrated. This will prevent miscommunication, wasted time and regret over words used in your email. Instead, save the message as a draft and only revise or send the email once you’ve calmed down.
Show empathy and encouragement in your emails. Replace imperative words like “do this” with conditional phrases like “could you do this?”If you need to deliver feedback you can also begin the message by expressing appreciation using words like “thank you” or “good work on….”
Provide specific, actionable feedback. Instead of vague or broad feedback like “this document is too long,” you could provide more details like “This document is looking good. Let’s remove the last page and reduce the total number of pages to 20.”
In the time of the coronavirus pandemic, workers are battling anxiety and stress. The normal outlets to help combat these stressors isn’t there; don’t make your workers’ life more difficult by jumbling communication via email.
Thankfully, Grammarly is here to give you a few suggestions. These can be applied to all, from workers at the bottom to managers at the top.
In a tweet, Grammarly said these are the three ways an email can show empathy during uncertain times:
- “I appreciate you taking the time to read this email.”
- “I wanted to let you know I’ve been thinking about you.”
- “First and foremost, how are you?”
Words to the wise: Think before you send your next email.