I Need This Completed ASAP. See below.Apr 02, 2023
I need you to complete this ASAP. See below.
Do you ever get emails like this from your boss?
This email contains at least three obstacles to great communication.
1️⃣ “I need you to” is a poor way to enroll the time and talent of others. “Could you please complete this…” is a better opening to invite participation and create agency.
2️⃣ ASAP – How can we expect to create accountability and ownership with the nebulous ASAP due date? And how often, when we are told ASAP, does the sender mean something completely different, like by the end of the day on Thursday? Now try writing, “Could you please complete this by 5:00 pm CST on Thursday?”
3️⃣ And finally, the classic line that didn’t exist before email was invented, “See below.” When given the instructions to see below, we ask the recipient to read our minds and decipher which part of the email chain below is relevant and what we are expected to do about it. This leads to upset most of the time. Add clarity by specifying which aspect(s) are most relevant.
4️⃣ Bonus tip - say please, even in emails.
PIAT – Putting It All Together
“Could you please read the email chain below and address Frank’s questions concerning next week’s meeting agenda before 5:00 pm CST on Thursday?”
Yes, I would be happy to do that, and I can have my answers back to you by 5:00 pm CST on Thursday.
A little effort to communicate clearly on the front end can eliminate a lot of future friction. Try it.