How to Stop Frustrating Email Communication from Your Team

Streamline Your Team’s Email Communication With 4 Important Questions

Have you ever been SO FRUSTRATED by your team’s email communication that you just want to hit “delete all”? Too many words. Gobs of attachments. Data with no explanation.

If you’re frustrated with the emails you’re getting from your team (particularly if they’re seasoned senior leaders), it’s easy to think, “They should know better.”

But even if they SHOULD know, if you’re not getting what you need, ask for it.

In today’s Asking for a Friend I share 4 questions to help you communicate clear expectations, reduce frustration, and save time.

How Do I Get My Team to Send Me Better Email? (Asking for a Friend)

4 Vital Questions to Ask Before Sending That Email

One way to ensure your team sends you better email communication is to give them screening questions to use BEFORE they hit send. 

1. Have I articulated a clear purpose in the headline and opening sentence?

First, be sure you have a clear headline and opening sentence. This well-defined purpose immediately communicates the email’s intent,  reduces confusion, and saves time. For more guidelines on how to write a good headline see: Email Best Practices: How to Send a Better, More Effective Email.

tips for better emails

2. Is my recommendation and rationale clearly expressed in concise bullet points?

Second, have you provided a clear and concise recommendation and rationale (in bulleted points)? Bullet points make the email easier to read and force you to streamline your message. One of the biggest frustrations we hear from executives is that the emails are just too long. Nobody has time for that. 

3. Have I provided a meaningful interpretation of any data I’ve included or attached?

Third, if you’ve included data, be sure you’ve included a meaningful interpretation. And please DON’T attach a bunch of spreadsheets without explanation. When attaching data, always include the “so what.”

4. Clear Next Steps

End by scheduling the finish with a clear call to action.  What do you want the person to do next? Make a decision? Weigh in? Attend a meeting? Congratulate your team?

If you’re a senior leader frustrated by too many bad emails, start by setting clear expectations with your team. If you’re the one sending the email, be everyone’s favorite communicator by asking these four questions BEFORE you hit send.

Related: Magic Mom Words: Powerful Phrases To Move From Mayhem to Magic