Learning to speak "electronically"?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by MJ5150, Nov 16, 2012.

  1. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    I have about eight years now working in the IT field. I came from construction where people talk and communicate much differently than they do in the corporate world.

    One area I notice is when communicating via e-mail or instant messaging. I have worked a few jobs in IT over the years. Some of them are with people who prefer and understand the value of electronic communications, others who value the face to face talk time. I feel I am good at both, with face to face maybe being more finely tuned.

    So the question....have any of you found you need to learn to speak "electronically"? I sure did. Do you come across people who are not good at it and get offended easily after misinterpreting an e-mail? Personally, I think communicating effectively electronically is something that needs to be learned and practiced to be good at.

  2. All day every day...

    Conference calls - several a day
    Email - usually stick to facts... im very careful about what i put in an email
    Instant Message - heavy use of emoticons... try to stick to facts

    my emails are sterile ... i've been told that more than once... if any emotion is to be understood i state it. I use bullet points a lot. If someone needs clarification... I have to talk to them because long emails tend to not get read.

    Always Always follow up with a ... Did you have any questions or does anything need clarification?

    "I'm frustrated because ... (insert the somebody sucks at their job comment that i have documented and can back up)"
  3. Growing up in the digital age you learn these things very fast and they become second nature.
  4. Roscoe East

    Roscoe East

    Aug 22, 2011
    Best advice I ever got about business emails was "Write in bullet points; every new idea should be its own paragraph."

    ...the corrollary to that of course is "Don't include too many ideas in any one email."

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  6. slobake

    slobake resident ... something Supporting Member

    Aug 6, 2011
    San Franciscco, CA
  7. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    I am emotional and animated when I speak, so I frequently make the mistake of trying to add that to e-mails.

  8. yeah... im not usually emotional and animated when i speak.

    I learned the bullet points thing in a class at work. We have some required "Effective Communication" classes that have to be taken every few years by the officers of the company. and "Influencing Others" ... they go together... im due for a refresh. We tend to learn bad habits over time... and forget what we were learned after a while.

    Facts - better be able to shoe the info/data of said fact

    Opnion - "I came to the conclusion...XXXXXXX..." "Here is my data and how i got there"

    either way im doing my research... and gathering data first... while you may not agree with me and i may have even made a mistake. But I'll make it easy for most to understand how i got there.

    but i deal with data and performance numbers daily... stuff i work with is pretty absolute most of the time.
  9. Simo98


    Jun 18, 2009
    QLD, Australia
    I use email to communicate a lot with work and have the same problem a little bit. I generally tend to elaborate and use a lot of unnecessary wording in my emails, and have to cut them down semi-regularly.

    However I've never been accused of coming across as bunt/brief/dismissive in emails like I feel a lot of people often do. It's all well and good to be short and sharp with your emails, but I find when you sacrifice manners and formalities and even generally niceties to do so it's quite easy for people to take things the wrong way. I'll often get emails where people come across as blunt, rude, impatient, etc.and while I know they're not doing so intentionally in most cases, I can imagine it wouldn't take too much for someone to take it the wrong way.

    I'm also always very neutral in emails, as anything you say is saved away and can be later used against you if things to pear shaped. I'll rarely talk in definite terms or blame anyone specifically, etc.

    As someone who's grown up in the digital age, communicating electronically comes fairly naturally to me, but there was definitely a learning curve when I started using it for business communication a lot.

    It's not uncommon for my emails to come out like my forum posts, a couple of chunky paragraphs, but I just like writing to be honest.
  10. Bloodhammer

    Bloodhammer Twinkle Twinkle Black Star

    Jul 7, 2009
    I don't have any business emails, but i use text to communicate with people while I'm at work and my messages are about as terse as you can get.

    like machine is speaking to you
  11. DblG


    Apr 27, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    I email alot of vendors at my job. I use spaces between paragraphs as to stand out as a separate item...and am usually pretty good at my wording to make sure I'm being clear. I find that quite often people I'm talking to only respond to the first thing addressed, so I've learned to dumb things down & use different emails to the same people to address different issues. I often joke to my co-workers that nobody reads past the first sentance or two an email. :meh:
  12. Bloodhammer

    Bloodhammer Twinkle Twinkle Black Star

    Jul 7, 2009
    The size of your post is about as much as I would read before going on to the next in my inbox.
  13. Ive had occaisions the other way round.

    I used to play in a band where the band leader was VERY shy in person. He was a fantastic Sax player, but very reserved, think the archtypal image of british stiff uper lip, (he was an ex military musician).

    In person you would get very little out of him, sometime in passing, after we came of stage, he would say "well done" in very clipped tones, as he walked past.

    Very shy. (unless he had a sax in his mouth...)

    But if I ever sent him an email to discuss musical matters, he was a completely different person, very open with his compliments, suggestions, ideas etc.

    It became the default way of discussing matters with him.

  14. Staredge


    Aug 7, 2010
    Germantown, MD
    Proper spelling and grammar, on the other hand.......


    (not referring to your post)
  15. DblG


    Apr 27, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    That's my dumbed down version. :spit:

  16. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    It's Essential to know how to communicate effectively, frequently, and succinctly in email. The days are numbered in the corporate world for those who can't do that as naturally as they speak.
  17. two fingers

    two fingers You tahkin 'uh me? Yeah, you. You tahkin 'uh me? Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I worked in construction for years. Now I'm in school for electronics. Part of my degree will be a class in "Business English". I met with the teacher. The point of your post is pretty much the point of the class. I'm looking forward to learning how to trim the fat from my electronic communications. Then I will be bilingual! I'll speak construction AND e-commerce! (I wonder if I can get a job translating for a construction company....... hmmmmmm.)
  18. Dale D Dilly

    Dale D Dilly Monster

    Jul 1, 2008
    I always write about five long paragraphs, then catch myself and trim them down to about five short sentences.

    All of my schooling taught me to carefully write out detailed arguments and provide lots of supplementary information when I'm trying to communicate with someone. That's straight out the window with digital correspondence. If an email reader doesn't see what you have to say within the first 10 words of a paragraph, he/she is probably not going to see it at all.