What most DPHA members lack the most is connection and time. We don’t have enough time to do the things we want and often are pressured by deadlines to hit send before we want to or should. Harvard University’s Director of the Writing Center Jane Rosenzweig offers some guidance to improve your communication capabilities.
The first line of an email or any correspondence should state the reason for the email. When you lead with the main point of the correspondence, you are telling the reader exactly what they need to do or expect. You save time and add connection. Determine the background information that supports your message and don’t add additional copy.
Don’t do this:
Budgeting for a bath is generally complicated and difficult to pin down because the number decisions that need to be made. We understand that homeowners in Shaker Heights, OH don’t have unlimited budgets most of the time, and there are always compromises and concessions. We encourage our clients to think strategically about what is most important in their new dream bath. Consider the pros and cons of upping your budget for the items you most want. What we encourage our clients to do is to create idea boards on social media sites such as Pinterest and Houzz that enable our designers to prepare realistic budget recommendations based on style, preferences and space.
We recommend that anyone who wants a dream bath create idea boards on social media sites such as Pinterest and Houzz that enable talented designers to develop realistic budgets based on style, preferences and space.
Rosenzweig also advises transforming descriptive topic sentences into topic sentences that make claims.
Descriptive Topic Statement:
I met with the Goldbergs on Tuesday to discuss their new kitchen.
Claim Topic Sentence:
After meeting with the Goldbergs on Tuesday to discuss their new bath, we need to revise their budget to ensure that they have realistic expectations.
The claim sentence is a call to action because something occurred at that meeting that requires a response or additional action.
When you begin an email with a claim, you tell the reader what to expect and focus the rest of the email on what needs to happen and why. Make a habit of writing claim-based topic sentences to reduce editing time.
Identify the people who should be acting when you communicate.
Consider changing this:
We made the decision to shut the showroom in light of global pandemic because we are not considered an essential business.
Jane Doe, president of Doe Designs decided to shut down the showroom in light of global pandemic because we are not considered an essential business.
In the first sentence, “We” is not identified, while in the second sentence the president of the company made the decision to close the showroom. Closing the showroom is a big deal. Determine if you want to identify the person who actually made the decision or if you want to keep the decision maker anonymous.