The 5 things that must happen before you'll get through to someone in an email

One of my favourite quotes about communication is from George Bernard Shaw: "The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion it has taken place."

Have you ever been under the illusion you’ve communicated when really you haven’t?

It’s easy to press “send” on an email and assume the job is done. In reality, your reader needs to go through five steps before you can say, hand on heart, that you've communicated effectively. I like to call it the ORUBA dance.

O – They need to open your email. Is your subject line enticing enough to make sure that happens?

R - They need to read your email. If your message is too long and complex, you’ll lose them at the first line.

U – They need to understand what you’re saying. Have you conveyed your message clearly?

B – They must believe it. Is your message credible? Have you provided enough (but not too much) background and evidence? Will they trust you?

A - They need to act on your message. This step is crucial but it’s often ignored. We assume the reader will know what they need to do once they’ve read our message; but will they? Be specific and spell out exactly what the next step needs to be.

Before you hit “send”, look at your email through the ORUBA framework. Are you giving your reader all the tools they need to understand and act on your message? If not, you might still be under the illusion that you are communicating.

Neryl EastComment