Being “effortless” is one of my favorite qualities I look for in hiring a new team member. It’s a win-win situation – the easier you can make things for others, the easier your job becomes.
It’s something that takes a little effort and time to develop, especially in the beginning of a new working relationship, but it always pans out to be an investment worth making. In the end, it’s a safe bet to say response times to your emails will shorten, you will have less questions to respond to, and the people will be more willing to work with you in the future – all because you made the experience effortless for them. Here are a few basic tips and tricks you can start incorporating today to see fast results:
1. Make your emails simple and easy to understand. I send a lot of emails daily, usually asking questions to the recipient, so I can take action. By sending a short, simple email with a clear subject line and including only the question and the information required for the recipient to make a quick decision, I find I get a faster response, as well as less or little to none follow-up questions. Keep it simple – and only provide relevant info in your emails.
2. Provide options when you can. Back to point above, when asking a question, whether in email, over the phone or face to face, always try to give options if possible; and be clear in the response you expect to receive and avoid an open-ended question. So, rather than make the recipient of the question work to think of the possible responses, give them a list of options for them to pick from. People are busy and have enough on their plate – helping them to make easy decisions will be greatly appreciated.
3. Think ahead. Many times at work when I’ve been preparing a project or document, it’s easy to get wrapped up in my own understanding of the work. Unfortunately, the recipient isn’t as connected to the work and won’t understand all of it without assistance. Be sure to think ahead and anticipate questions others may have; and address those questions! By providing a few quick background notes and addressing possible questions in the beginning, you can avoid questions and misunderstandings.
4. It’s not all about you. Yes, we all have our own comfort zones of the way we like things done. However, it’s not always about you. By studying your client, co-worker, supervisor, you can come to learn what types of communication they prefer and what works best for them, how they like information presented, and even what times of the day are best to discuss things. You’ll find that by tailoring your work around what others value, you’ll gain appreciation and build a better working relationship.
5. Easy to read. With so many people mobile these days, it’s more and more important to make sure the documents you send out are easy to read and understand. Always make sure your emails, documents, and reporting are can be viewed on a mobile device. Keep documents clean and simple when possible. Bullet points and white space in an email can make a world of a difference in ease of reading on a cell phone. PDF copies are also great because they don’t change format when viewing on phones or iPads. Remember – the easier it is for someone to read and understand the document you are sending them, less questions will be asked and there will be fewer misunderstandings.
Start today by looking at how you present work to others and evaluate it. If you were someone sitting in the seat for the first day, would you understand it? If you think you could have areas of improvement, start by using a few of the ideas above and see if you notice a difference. Although it may seem like more work on your end in the beginning, you’ll find by incorporating a few extra steps and effort into your work for others, the return in the end is worth it. Sometimes, even the little things you begin to do can become contagious to others, and the favor is returned to you. Who doesn’t want things made easier??
By Jessica Oberto | People Science Director of Process Engineering