Thursday, August 9, 2012

Avoiding Email Misunderstandings

Many of like to communicate with emails, and that's fine. Our customers like it, and we can get the message composed and sent quickly without having to find a convenient time to make a call when our customers are available.

Emails can be tricky, however, and we have to be very careful how we express a phrase. We might know what we mean. We might even hear ourselves saying it as we write it. However, the person reading it may "hear" it an entirely different way.

Take the two words "hard" and "drive." We can say that we had a hard drive home last night in the rain. We aren't talking about the storage device in our computer. Maybe "hard drive" is not the best choice of words for our commute.

A word that I'm thinking of can be used as a one-word answer and have many different meanings and intonations, so we need to make sure that our meaning is clear - or use a different word if we aren't sure. And that's the word - "sure."

Question to us from our customer: Can we do it?

Answer to our customer: "Sure" (affirmation, confirmation, certainty, or assurance). "Sure" (we can reluctantly or if we have to). "Sure" (we'd rather not). "Sure" (as in "not really" or "don't count on it").

Language is so important to communication, and sales do not happen and survive cancellation or disappointment without effective communication. If words are clearly understood or transmitted without any change of misinterpretation, communication has not occurred.

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