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How to decipher your boss’s emails

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in Office Communication,Workplace Communication

It can be frustrating when you’ve crafted an informative email to your boss but receive only a one-word response: “noted” or “done.”

Although the one-word email is often the result of supervisors rapidly going through many emails, it can leave you wondering if they really got the information you were trying to convey.

There are things you can do to keep the email miscommunication to a minimum, Sue Shellenbarger writes. They include:

  • Use very specific subject lines and don’t deviate. If the thread gets too long and wanders into other territory, create a new email thread with its own specific subject.
  • Get to the point. Don’t begin emails with filler phrases like “if you have a second, could you please.” You’re wasting time and making yourself look bad.
  • Utilize bullet point style. Don’t make your boss read through a five-inch paragraph to get to the question at the end. If you need to include extra information first, distill it down to a few points or schedule a phone call to discuss it.

If you and the boss are consistently miscommunicating, you may need to adjust until you’re both in sync. If your boss wants more or less information, work around that. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification if you’re unclear about anything or ask for a phone call or face-to-face meeting.

— Adapted from “Email Enigma: When the Boss’s Reply Seems Cryptic,” Sue Shellenbarger, The Wall Street Journal.

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