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Sample essay topic, essay writing: Electronic Communication And The Negative Impact Of Miscommunication - 1309 words
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Electronic communications, improve efficiency and productivity, but poorly written emails can cause internal strife, low morale, and loss of clients. Effective written communication will enhance internal communications as well as external communications. The ability to write effectively is a core skill that all employees, no matter what their title is, should master. If the content of an email is unclear, grammatically incorrect or is full of typos, the email will cause misunderstandings and the possible loss of business. A chain reaction of emails or letters will occur, questioning the next course of action and clients will undoubtedly believe that we will treat them with the same carelessness we took in creating that correspondence. Case in point, a letter was recently sent to one of our clients misquoting our fees, a second letter was sent to the client correcting the fee, but was addressed to the wrong person.
We have since lost this client. Jonathan Hershberg, president of Opus Associates, a communications training developer based in New York, states, 'If I get an e-mail that's full of errors and I know nothing else about you,' Hershberg says, 'there's no reason for me not to think you'll handle my business in the same way you handled that writing." (Moerke, A, 2004) We have seen an example of this kind of writing. A benefit distribution memo was created for the wife of a deceased participant. The salutation of the letter addressed the deceased, not the wife. Correspondences regarding death benefits require special attention
Correspondence should never be addresses to the deceased. All writers should use the method of prewriting, brainstorming, writing and organizing, revising for style, and proofreading to produce memos, letters, emails, and reports The suggested percentage of time spent on each writing step is as follows: (Jaderstrom, Miller, and Office Pro June 2004) Prewriting 12.5% Brainstorming 25.0% Writing and organizing 25.0% Revising for style 25.0% Proofreading 12.5% Emails are less formal then letters or memorandums; and the authors of emails tend to abbreviate words and use slang to get his or her meaning across quickly. This may be acceptable for communication inside the company, but it will confuse external clients. John Patrick, President of Attitude, LLC states that "Email is a form of writing. Like with pen and paper, some people are good at it and some are not.
Well written email is powerful and has numerous other positive attributes, including its ability to be sorted, archived, indexed, and so on." (Crainer, Stuart, Dearlove, Des, 2004). Email is a form of communication and much effort and attention should be given to the content of the email. An email that is seemingly innocent to one reader may spark anger in another reader. When this happens, the fist email can cause a chain of events, causing hurt feelings and misjudgments. Instead of focusing on work related issues, the employees will discuss how they were affected by the tone of the email. There is certain etiquette that should be followed when composing an email message.
For example, if the message is short enough to state in the subject line, then do so. Inserting the message in the subject line will allow the reader to see the message clearly without having to open the email. Many employees receive emails from outside sources, such as Spam or websites that they have visited. Cutting down on Spam will greatly boost productivity. The Reply and Reply to all buttons also require special attention. One can accidentally send an email message to everyone on the distribution list instead of the person intended.
Once the send button is pushed, there is no taking that message back. We have recently seen this happen with an email reprimanding an employee for not assembling plan documents properly. Instead of the author of the email selecting the Admin staff from the distribution list, they selected All. Imagine how that employee felt knowing that the entire company was privy to his or her reprimanding. An email can be retrieved at anytime, leading to lawsuits.
A recent study of 52 lawsuits in which emails were written by employees or companies cited seven elements that lead to the lawsuits: (Shea, Gordon F. January, 1992) unclear purpose unfocused writing poor organization difficult language excess verbiage improper or ineffective choice of words grammatical errors that mislead readersThe article continues to discuss how each of these elements can be alleviated. Many companies offer courses in business writing to their employees to boost effective communication skills. By offering these courses, companies can improve productivity and enhance the communication to their employees and clients. Joan Rubinstein, president of Nasco Consulting Services Inc.
states, "My clients find that concentrating on business writing has a number of economic benefits' she also states, 'It reduces customer inquiries, increases responses and reduces costly errors caused by ambiguities." With fewer revisions required, everyone's time is used more efficiently.' Many companies also have classes regarding email etiquette and how to use the email system. Our company could definitely benefit from classes on email etiquette and effective communication skills. The company could look at outside vendors and costs and choose which company would best suit the needs of the company. Flyers can be posted in the cafeteria and around the office, announcing that the company will sponsor a Workshop on Effective Communication. A sign-in sheet will be available to ensure that all employees attend. After the workshop has ended, a survey on what the employees have learned will be emailed to all employees.
The survey should be offered as a confidential survey to ensure accurate responses. The results of the survey should tell us what the employees learned and how they will implement what they have learned. The company should also draft a written email policy and Internet Policy with help from the Internet technology team. All employees should be required to sign the policy. This policy should be given to all new employees with the employee handbook.
A copy of the signed policy will also be kept in the employee's personnel file. Alison Wetherfield, chair of the Employment Lawyers Association legislative and policy committee states that 'It's perfectly appropriate for an employer to put in place an e-mail policy that says 'use it in this way and if you don't, we will discipline you',' But the problem arises when you have a policy and do not use it in practice." If a policy has not been consistently enforced, but is later used to reprimand an employee for misusing the email, it may seem unfair. If the company implements the workshop and the e-mail and Internet policy, we will see a dramatic change in the way the employees write. Correspondence, whether it is a letter, e-mail, or memorandum, will have a more professional feel because we have had successful training in effective written communication. With the training in effective communication, the employees will learn how to effectively draft correspondence.
Misunderstandings, wordiness, and grammatical errors that we are currently experiencing with our correspondence should decrease with the training. The email policy will ensure the need for proofreading and spellchecking the content before sending to our internal or external clients. The clients will notice the change in the professionalism of our writing. Overall, the outcome can only benefit the company and its employees. ReferencesCrainer, Stuart, Dearlove, Des, Across the Board (2004) Making yourself Understood - The New Language of Business, 41, Issue 3, Retrieved September 28, 2004 from the EBSCOhost databaseJaderstrom, Susan, Miller, Joanne, Office Pro (2004) - Writing with Purpose Business Source Premier , 64, Issue 5 Retrieved September 28, 2004 from the EBSCOhost databaseMoerke, Amy, (2004) Business Writing Brushup Sales & Marketing Management, 156, Issue 5 Retrieved September 28, 2004 from the EBSCOhost databaseShea, Gordon F, Training & Development, (1992) A Case for Clear Writing, 46 Issue 1, p63, Retrieved September 28, 2004 from the EBSCOhost databaseHudson Valley Business Journal (2001) Email underlines need for better business writing skills,. 11, Issue 26 Retrieved September 28, 2004 from the EBSCOhost databaseReed Business Information Ltd.
Personnel Today, (2004), p18, 2p Retrieved September 28, 2004 from the EBSCOhost database.
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