The Write Way to Handle Email and Written Communication for Administrative Assistants

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August 15, 2018
Author: Tamala Huntley
Organization: Tamala Huntley International


Is email a thorn in your side? Do people ignore your emails or constantly ask you questions that you’ve already answered in them?

When writing emails, you should follow a few simple rules to get them read and cause the reader to act on what’s written.

Your subject should be concise and to the point. It should use a few well-chosen words that grab the reader’s attention and tell them exactly what they will find when they open it. Including the action you want the reader to take helps too.

For example, “Please respond by 2pm”.

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  • Bad Subject: Meeting
  • Good Subject: Today’s 2pm Meeting Agenda

Use bullet points or numbered paragraphs to make for easy reading and keep points separate. You could also only cover one specific point per email and send separate emails if you are covering different topics.

  • Be clear and concise, not overly wordy.
  • Close the email by clearly telling them what you want them to do.

The Perfect Written Letter

A well written letter is extremely valuable and has the potential to be just as impactful to its reader. It may be the first “experience” someone has with your company and as we all know, first impressions are lasting impressions.

Before you begin writing any letter, answer the following questions:

  1. What is my purpose in writing this letter/memo/report?
  2. What does my reader want or need to know to understand my message?
  3. Have I answered important questions and provided the necessary information for the reader?
  4. Did I accomplish my purpose?
  5. Have I included boring, confusing, or distracting information?
  6. What do I want the reader to do when he or she is done reading this?
  7. Is that clear to the reader?
  8. Have I included all the information necessary for the reader to take this action?

Most problems with business letters are they are either hard to understand or very long and drawn out. In order to avoid this problem, double check your letters to make sure they are:

  • Clear – know your purpose and state it early
  • Concise – short and to the point is best
  • Correct – always proofread for grammar and spelling
  • Courteous – your letter is still a form of customer service
  • Conversational – make the letter easy to read
  • Convincing – touch the reader’s emotion
  • Complete – provide all necessary information

Don’t waste your reader’s time. This is accomplished by knowing why you are writing and what you want to achieve. If you cannot answer these two questions, you should reconsider writing your letter. Keep your letters as short as possible without missing any important and relevant information. Nobody minds reading a letter that is engaging and to the point.

Business letters may be formatted differently, but they all have the same elements. They have a letterhead, a date, an inside address, a salutation, a body, a complimentary closing, signature, and the name of the author of the letter. The three most commonly formats used are block, modified block, and semi-block.

State the purpose of your letter in the first paragraph. And finally, close the letter by restating its purpose and including your contact information.

Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills

  1. Give your full attention and fight distractions
  2. Listen openly, with empathy for others
  3. Ask, repeat or rephrase what is being said to make sure you fully understand
  4. Judge the content, not the messenger
  5. Pay attention to non-verbal cues and body language
  6. Ask the other person for as much detail as she can provide
  7. Respond in an interested way that shows you understand what is being said
  8. Ask others for their views or suggestions
  9. State your position clearly and be specific
  10. Communicate your feelings but don't act them out (attack the problems, not the people)

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