uch of my last twenty years in business involved learning to write.
Oh, not the whole thing about wine-dark seas and such; I already know how to wax descriptively. No, in this case, it was to write informatively.
I was having to manage compliance issues across an organization situated across the globe. In this, email was the tool of choice; my requests and corrections involved too many people to one-on-one with a phone. However, to keep from having my email turn into a long thread of postings and counter-postings, I had to learn to make sure that information was conveyed in total.
There is a trick to structuring what you say.
For example, if I need to ask about issue A, but also B and C are of secondary concern, writing “Can you tell me about A?” insures a second (or more) emails about B and C. Rather, I should ask “Can you tell me about A? Further, I am concerned about B and C”. I might even quickly detail my concerns about the others, just so the recipient knows the thrust of my communication.
The reason this came up – as I’ve mentioned, I post out a model train newsletter four times a year for a national organization. The Summer edition included our ballot for organizational elections. The Fall edition (just out) mentioned this in passing. So then comes the email, with, simply, “I don’t have a ballot”.
Did you get the Summer issue (Did you only just join the organization? Did you get the edition and it wasn’t there? Did you realize that that page was your ballot? Did the printer neglect to give it to you?). I’ve got so many scenarios that could cover that terse statement. Rather than giving me a boxed puzzle, you give me one piece and expect me to communicate back. And no, I really don’t feel like chiseling through to the facts of your case. I’m retired, right?
Before you post an email requesting something (a response, information, a product inquiry, whatever) read it for grammar. Then, read it again from the point of view of the recipient. Are you giving a clear, concise outline of what you are asking, resolving as much uncertainty and confusion as you can? Or are you simply posting a single puzzle piece?