Writing Effective Messages

Here at Ruby, we do a lot of talking. We answer 5,200-5,500 calls every day. That’s a new call every nine seconds for the entire 13 hours that we’re open. Lather, rinse, and repeat 5 days a week plus Saturdays.

We pride ourselves for being friendly, professional, and helpful on the phone. But the other half of spoken communication is the written communication that goes with it. We send phone messages via email. We make outbound calls for our clients, and they rely on an email to know what happened. Our client services department sends a follow-up email every time they talk to a client. As the maxim goes, “If it’s not in writing, it didn’t happen.”

So what does it take to write a good message? The same rules apply whether you’re writing a formal business letter, a quick email, or just taking a message from a caller.

Good messages:

  • Are clear. Try to convey your meaning as simply as possible. Don’t over-write or use exorbitant language. Don’t make your readers scratch their heads and try to guess what you mean.
  • Are complete. Include all relevant information. Think about the situation from your readers’ perspective. What information might they want? What questions will they have?
  • Are correct. Always proofread before sending any message. This simple step can prevent a lot of confusion and embarrassment. Proofreading just once is acceptable for short messages, but you’ll want to proofread several times for longer and more formal writing.

Overall, a good message should save the reader time. Remember your three Cs, and you’ll be making the most of your time as well.

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