Friday, July 29, 2016

Millennials: Tips for Talking with Your Elders

At Attorney at Work, consultant Linda Hazelton offers tips for talking across the generational divide. For example, here are her tips to millennials on communicating with elders via email:

More and more, email is the mode of formal communications, so keep your tone and format professional.

  • Subject line. Use an informative subject line, and change it when the subject changes. In some instances, it’s helpful to indicate what the reader should do, and when.
    • “Anderson Project — Would you please read and respond by tomorrow at 9 am? Thanks!” or
  •          “Anderson Project — For your information. No response necessary.”
  • Use a greeting and closing to avoid seeming abrupt. “Hello Ms. Roberts,” or “Good morning,” are better choices than “Hi!” “Dear Ms. Roberts” is a bit stilted. Close by thanking the reader (when appropriate) and saying “Best regards” or “Warm regards” or something similar.
  • State your purpose clearly and get to the point quickly (although some small talk is fine, for example, “I hope you had a great weekend.”) Emails should be precise and concise. If you need multiple paragraphs to get your point across, email isn’t the right medium.
  • What next? Convey the action step you want the reader to take. If no action is necessary, say so. “I’m sending this to keep you in the loop. No action on your part is required.”
  • Proofread! You must read your email carefully before sending it. Make sure your tone is appropriate and that there are no typos or grammatical errors. Autocorrect is not always your friend. When possible, print your email (or any other document, by the way) and read the hard copy.

You can read more here.


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