Monday, July 10, 2006

Blue Ferret BlogTip 7-10-06 - 2 Dangerous Assumptions To Avoid When Emailing

We're back! Hope everyone had fun last week.

Today's BlogTip is about emails. Yes, the snippets of conversation and "I need this ASAP" we fire off without so much as an extra glance. Often, we make several assumptions specific to the topic - but a coffee meeting I had with a local photographer (*cough*Stephanie Gordon*cough*) highlighted two common and very dangerous assumptions people make.

These assumptions will almost always cause confusion in your reader(s), and quite possibly misinterpretation. Stephanie even reported an incident where one such email, sent to her, seemed so assumptive that the message looked offensive.

The Dangerous Assumptions to Avoid are:
1. Assume the message needs no context.
2. Assume the reader will understand what you mean.

Like any form of communication, emails need context. If that's not already present in the relationship between you and the reader, put it into the email. (Adding one sentence explaining your reasoning will do it.)

And never, EVER assume the reader understands you. You're not your reader. This goes back to Audience Mischaracterization and Leaps in Logic I discussed in, "Are You Sending Out Communications With Holes In Them?" Read that again, and you'll understand why I list the email assumption as dangerous.

That's all for today! See everyone Wednesday.

(Oh, and P.S. - if you signed up for my Zookoda email broadcasts, they seem to be broken right now. I'm stuck on email hold with Zookoda waiting for a reason why. I'll update when I hear back.)



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