Now I have to confess this article’s a bit of a rant, but there’s a habit that I’ve noticed recently that really gets my back up. I’m not sure why I find it so irritating, but it gets to me every time. It’s signing off an email (usually sent to a bunch of people) with the word ‘Thoughts?’
To me, this is not only rude, but its vagueness is a recipe for mass confusion and random responses. Surely it’s not that much extra effort to construct a proper question. It says to me that the writer of the email has a heap of information that they are not sure what to do with, so in order to get it off their plate, they assemble it in an email, send it to a lot of other people and feel they’ve taken action so can rest easy. It’s a classic ‘dumping rather than delegating’ scenario.
Aha! In writing this article I’ve managed to clarify my thoughts quite nicely. I now realise WHY I find it so irritating after all!
If you find yourself in this situation, here are my top tips for clear communication:
- Understand what feedback you want, and be clear about it
- Think about what you’re going to do with it when you get it. Why do you want ‘thoughts?’
- Ask in a complete sentence
- If it’s complicated, break it down