Improve Your Global Business English
eBook - ePub

Improve Your Global Business English

The Essential Toolkit for Writing and Communicating Across Borders

Fiona Talbot, Sudakshina Bhattacharjee

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  4. Available on iOS & Android
eBook - ePub

Improve Your Global Business English

The Essential Toolkit for Writing and Communicating Across Borders

Fiona Talbot, Sudakshina Bhattacharjee

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About This Book

In a business world that spans several continents, it is no longer common for everyone to speak English as a first language. Whether you speak English as a first, second or even third language, intercultural business communication means that getting it right first time has never been more important for you and your organization.
English can never be standardized in the global and digital marketplace; instead, we can learn how to customize business English according to our own values and culture and communicate successfully across borders. Improve Your Global Business English creates an awareness in the reader of what to avoid and how to ensure that communications are correctly understood.Very readable and hugely instructive, Improve Your Global Business English provides practical self-study with quizzes, activities and worksheets, helping you to fine-tune your written communication. By mastering the basics, defining your readers and tailoring your message to them, understanding the conventions of different media and understanding cultures, you can enhance your reputation as a truly global, modern player in today's marketplace. If you want your messages to be perceived as you intended, to retain customers or to win new ones, Improve Your Global Business English gives you the background you need.Online supporting resources for this book include supplementary video, self-test questions and answers, templates and a case study on going global

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Information

Publisher
Kogan Page
Year
2012
ISBN
9780749466152
Chapter Six
Writing e-mails
“Think before you write, while you write – and definitely after you’ve written.
Evaluate when to use e-mail
Billions of e-mails are sent worldwide each day: a staggering figure that underlines the importance of the medium. They are the major business communication today, written by all levels of staff, in all types of company.
More often than not, staff deal with this written communication without formal training. It’s strange really, as in the past companies routinely trained employees in paper letter or report writing, or offered secretarial support to maintain the right professional image.
The sheer volume we write or receive makes it essential to work out how best to use e-mail. The minute you’ve felt overly stressed before going on vacation (or after it) because of e-mail backlog in your inbox is the minute you realize e-mail can be the problem rather than the solution.
To reduce the stress of overload, companies should probably question more whether e-mail is the right communication medium for the business purpose in question. If, for example, people work in an open plan office, might it be better to talk to a person face to face? Alternatively, might telephone contact be the better medium sometimes? Occupational psychologists suggest this is often a better route to problem solving, and can make it easier to develop trust and relationships.
Interestingly, some companies are beginning to suggest e-mail could, in time, go the way of the fax (by being consigned to history) as this case study shows.
CASE STUDY Atos Origin
In February 2011 global IT and business technology company Atos Origin set out its ambition ‘to be a zero e-mail company within three years’. As its global press release put it: ‘Time to ease information pollution...’
CEO Thierry Breton announced that the volume of e-mails the company was at that time sending and receiving was unsustainable for business. Managers were spending between 5 and 20 hours per week reading and writing e-mails. Estimates were that only about 10 per cent of the 200 or so electronic messages staff received each day were actually useful and that it was time to think differently.
For this reason, Breton wanted his company’s 49,000 staff to focus more on using instant messaging and chat-style collaborative services such as we see on Facebook or Twitter. The company believes that ‘innovative social business solutions provide a more personal, more immediate and importantly, more cost effective means to manage and share information that supports the way of working in the 21st century and enables the Smart Organization.’
So, although the use of business e-mail may seem to be rising globally as we write, with initiatives such Atos Origin’s, it may decline as social media grows in usage. In either event, business writing remains crucial. In e-mail, the focus is on the one-to-one recipient or the relatively ‘captive audiences’ of your e-mail thread or address book contacts. In social media, the focus is on writing to interest and thereby engage a wider, though specifically targeted, audience. We discuss this further in Chapter 12.
Activity
What is your general opinion about the quantity and nature of work e-mails? How many e-mails do you write and send on a typical working day? How many do you receive? Of those how many do you need to read? How many are actually useful and help your work performance? Note your findings here.
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Were you surprised at your findings? Why not share them with colleagues?
So yes, you need to work out whether e-mail is the right communication medium for the message you need to send. Once you’ve established it is the right tool, in this chapter we suggest you also assess:
  • Is e-mail used efficiently? (It will help to refer to your findings in the last activity.)
  • Are all staff using e-mail in a professional, consistently corporate way?
  • Should there be office guidelines on language and to...

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