I was wondering for a long time now what next to write on my blog, and then it struck me Communication!.
Recently I have been involved in working with the public as well as some junior developers, and noticed that there is very little people that can still communicate properly, or write a descent message.
Personally I think the evolution of “sms language” or short hand has robbed people from their communication skills.
Most people these days think you know what they are talking about, or omits half the information needed to understand the message, and in other cases they write such bad language that the message is difficult to read.
Take this message for instance “I luv to buyur laptop” – Now how on earth is anyone supposed to make sense of such a message when it is missing context.
What the message needs is firstly the use of proper words and full sentences, and then the user needs to add what they are talking about. A proper message could have been “I would love to buy a laptop from you. I saw a HP laptop on the website, how do I go about buying from you?” This way you have an idea of what the person is talking about as well as some context to the message.
- Some points on writing good messages:
- Briefly state your purpose for writing the message in the very beginning of your message.
- Be sure to provide the reader with a context for your message. If you’re asking a question, cut and paste any relevant text (for example, computer error messages, assignment prompts you don’t understand, part of a previous message, etc.) into the new message so that the reader has some frame of reference for your question. When replying to someone else’s message, it can often be helpful to either include or restate the sender’s message.
- Use paragraphs to separate thoughts (or consider writing separate messages if you have many unrelated points or questions).
- Finally, state the desired outcome at the end of your message. If you’re requesting a response, let the reader know what type of response you require (for example, an e-mail reply, possible times for a meeting, a recommendation letter, etc.) If you’re requesting something that has a due date, be sure to highlight that due date in a prominent position in your e-mail. Ending your e-mail with the next step can be really useful, especially in work settings (for example, you might write “I will follow this e-mail up with a phone call to you in the next day or so” or “Let’s plan to further discuss this at the meeting on Wednesday”).
Lastly, remember that short hand or “sms language” is not proper language for general communication.