Let’s face it; email is not going to go away any time soon. It’s a part of daily lives, whether we like it or not. However many of us are still addressing our emails in such a way that it actually inhibits communication rather than facilitates it.
Every day I receive at least one email with myself and several other people listed on the recipients list. The email then starts off with a request like, “Could you please do this…” The first question that always goes through my mind is which “you” are you asking? Is it me, or Fred, or Bob, or Sam, or the other 10 people you listed in the “To” field? I am asking because I really have no clue!
When you address an email to more than one person and then make a general call to action to the whole group, none of recipients know who is supposed to do what. Each assumes another is going to fill the request, and therefore thinks they can just ignore the email all together. And, if by some miracle, the task does manage to move forward, many unnecessary emails of clarification were needed to make that happen. Really, who has time for that?
When you are making a request by email, please make it only to the person you want to fill it; either by putting that person alone in the “To” field and copying the rest, or by specifically naming that person in the body of the email with a phrase like “Sam, could you please do…” If you are not sure who to name, don’t send the email until you do. After all, if you don’t know who on your recipients list should be doing the task you are requesting, how are they? Lastly, be sure to double check everything before you blindly click “Reply All”, as this in itself can automatically cause the problem in the first place.
Remember, as George Bernard Shaw once said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” More motivational quotes here.
Susan A. Enns, B2B Sales Coach & Author,
B2B Sales Connections
“I love the B2B Sales Connections website. It is an amazing resource for anyone involved in B2B selling.”