Listening and Sending Memos & E-mail

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about:

How to listen? How to write memos/emails to fellow workers?

Signed, How To

Dear How To:

Listening is more than hearing. We hear much more than we listen to. All of us are bombarded with thousands of ads each week, but although the maker of the ads wants us to buy, we do not attend to them unless they have special appeals to our needs or wants. Listening at work is different. It is making sense of what one hears; making sure you hear the words uttered that are directed for you, asking what is the purpose of them, and what you are expected to learn and/do. And it is responding with your eyes, face, and body signals that you are there. Listening means not interrupting. It also means asking what, when, why and how questions that are relevant when and if needed.

E-mails and memos should be brief and to the point. Building rapport is not to the point. Begin emails and memos with TO, FROM, DATE, AND SUBJECT–Identifying who is to read IT, who is writing it, date, and subject. State in a sentence what you want the reader to know, feel or do. Explain why and how if necessary. Use numbers or bullets to expand only when needed. Organizational protocol within an organization varies. Write and respond to memos in keeping with those protocols in mind.

One rule of thumb is to write when a record is important. Do not write a memo or e-mail when a record is not needed. Most of all, avoid too many e-mails and memos. Face-to-face communication allows for immediate listening and responding. Making an organization work is a matter of active communication. Working together with hands, head and heart takes and makes big WEGOS and communication is part of that process.

William Gorden