TL;DR: Communicate fast and to the point but do it with heart.
My job requires a lot of written and verbal communication. I am constantly running between meetings with barely enough time to check my emails. I have to move fast and that means making quick decisions and communicating quickly.
Quick communications try to communicate things like these:
- I need you to do this now.
- Here is my one-sentence response.
- I need your reply now.
Every time I send one of these I rewrite them over and over. Here is how a one-sentence email might evolve:
- “I need an update asap.”
- “I need you to write a status update before EOD.”
- “Can you send me a status update before end of day?”
- “Could you send me a status update before end of day?”
Changing from “can” to “could” might seem like an unnecessary change. “Can” is a perfectly appropriate request but “could” implies “please” without stating it. So that small change, depending on your audience might be better received.
So much of editing my quick communication is about making sure people understand the message doesn’t carry any animosity.
You can make your communication even shorter and just send “I need an update asap.” But you’ll need strong relationships with those you are communicating with.
This is hugely helped me:
- Having strong relationships with my team. They know me, and I know them.
- Having open discussions about communication styles. I shared what I like and expect, and asked the same from my teammates.
If your teams know you, they will understand the subtext of your communications. Just make sure this style is not the only one you use with your team or you might erode that rapport.