3 questions leaders should ask before sending their next email

More workplace exchanges happen in written form as cues like eye contact, body language and tone of voice are replaced by text on a screen. To avoid misunderstandings, leaders need to slow down and pay more attention to what they're writing in emails, according to an article published in the Harvard Business Review Feb. 19. 

Erica Dhawan is a speaker and author of two books on collaboration, teamwork and communication. In the article, Ms. Dhawan said that reading carefully is the new listening and outlined three questions leaders should ask themselves before clicking the send button on emails.

  1. Is my email too brief? If you receive a detailed email, respond to its individual components instead of sending back a short blanket response. It's also important to take time to proofread and think carefully about the message your punctuation could send the reader, according to Ms. Dhawan.

  2. What tone am I projecting? Sending brief responses can be perceived as offensive and cause team members to feel belittled, Ms. Dhawan said. If you don't have time to send a thoughtful email, she suggested letting the recipient know you plan to respond at greater lengths as soon as possible.

  3. Would it help to talk instead? If an email is confusing or vague, requesting a phone conversation can show you're being thoughtful, Ms. Dhawan said. She said live meetings can save time and force participants to ask the right questions versus repeatedly asking one question at a time.

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