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If I can help you write better emails and texts, you will save time and enhance your working relationships with colleagues and customers.  

Imagine giving someone a peek at your inbox. Would he or she make any of the following conclusions about the emails in your inbox? 

(Photo: yanyong / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

(Photo: yanyong / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

  • Not sure what he wants.
  • Seems angry about something.
  • Trying too hard to be clever.
  • Sharing too much personal information.
  • This person doesn’t know you.

That last conclusion is about spam messages. There’s not much we can do about those — other than filtering them out. As for the rest, you can lead by example. Writing clear and concise emails tends to set an expectation for those who interact with you.

What it’s about

Every communication should have what’s called a controlling idea. It dictates what you are trying to accomplish. The controlling idea is what says, “Oh, that’s what this is about.” It acts as a filter that speeds up the communication process. Once you have it you know what’s necessary to build your communication, what to leave in and leave out.

When writing emails and texts, the controlling idea makes it easy to determine the message content, if attachments are necessary, who to copy, who not to copy and the language and tone of voice you use. Like a perfect project plan, it eliminates wasted time and materials and more importantly, encourages fewer callbacks.

The tone of voice is something that can be difficult to grasp. Some say it’s the personality of your writing. I’ve come to understand it as simply being honest. Don’t try to project an identity that doesn’t fit who you really are in person.

Even the best communicators make mistakes, sharing too much or the wrong information and sometimes failing to make a clear call to action. You greatly reduce these common oversights when you have a solid controlling idea.

The beauty of the controlling idea is it works in our fast-paced world. The only rule you need to know is this: Don’t start writing until you have your controlling idea.

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Jeff Korhan

About the Author:

Jeff Korhan is the owner of True Nature Marketing, a Naples, Fla.-based company helping entrepreneurs grow. Reach him at Jeff works with service companies that want to drive growth and enhance their brand experience with digital platforms.

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