Eclectic Blog

Is Email Always My Best Option?

Email is probably the most commonly used form of written communication in the business world today. Sometimes, it’s too common. There are times when email is not the best or most efficient way to convey your message.

See our chart below for the best times to use email and the best times not to use email.

Use Email When You… Don’t Use Email When You…
Send a message to a large group Require an immediate response
Provide information that requires no action Need to send a long message
Send attachments Want to ensure intent/emotions come across clearly
Want a written record of discussions Discuss a complex topic or any topic where you expect a lot of back and forth conversation
Need to accommodate alternate schedules
(shift work or time zone differences)
Send sensitive or confidential information
Schedule meetings Communicate with someone who doesn’t have easy access to email or has indicated they don’t want email communication

If you have decided email is not your best option, you will need to decide the best way to communicate your message. This may end up not being a written message at all. There are times when phone conversations, meetings, or face-to-face discussions are the most efficient and effective way to communicate.

Want to Write Attention-Getting Documents? Focus on Your Reader


We have a tendency to focus on our own perspectives when completing tasks, including writing our business documents. But the best documents (the ones that capture the most attention) focus on the reader’s point of view instead.

How can you ensure your documents focus on your reader? Create a reader profile.

First, ask yourself who the likely reader is for your document. Are you writing to one specific person or a larger general audience? Once you have your reader in mind, you can ask yourself a series of questions. 

Questions to Help You Create Your Reader Profile:

  • What does my reader already know?
  • Will my reader have the knowledge to fully understand the document’s purpose and subject matter?
  • Does my reader have any preconceived views?
  • How will my reader react to this information?
  • What will my reader need to do with this document?
  • How can I make this document understandable for my reader?​

To answer these questions, you can research your reader, but you will also likely need to make educated guesses for at least some of the answers.

Once you have your reader profile, you can use this information to develop your content and organize your document according to your reader’s needs and wants.

Motivating Writers Through Positive And Constructive Feedback

Most organizations don’t have professional editors on staff.  And while many strong writers are also strong editors, editing does represent a unique skill set that not everyone excels at without specific training. When you edit, you want to ensure the document is accurate, is easy for the audience to read and understand, is free of spelling and grammatical errors, and has a layout that enhances readability. 

Editing Checklists are useful tools to help you keep your editing tasks on track. A comprehensive checklist helps you focus on all the distinct components that need to be checked so your readers receive an informative and professional document.

Checklists as assessment tools

Checklists also have another use: to assess your employees’ writing. Using a checklist lets you physically record a writer’s challenges as well as their strengths. Writers need to know where they need to improve and what they’re doing well to stay motivated. A comprehensive editing checklist helps you do that.

When assessing your writers, keep these points in mind.

  • Use your checklist on three to four different documents for each employee. Assessing more than one document will give a more balanced perspective on the employee’s writing skills. Use the checklist again, after a set period of time (e.g., three to eight weeks), to measure the employee’s improvements. 
  • Praise the strengths. When evaluating, it’s equally important to highlight good writing as well.
  • Avoid overwhelming and discouraging your employees. No one can fix 10 problems at the same time, so pick one or two of the most pressing concerns to start.
  • Go over the editing checklist with each employee and set up a development plan. Offer resources, training and coaching to help motivate your employees to improve.  


Introducing our Virtual Workshops

Eclectic now offers our business communication courses in a virtual classroom environment. Not sure what virtual classroom means? Watch our three-minute video to understand how our virtual classroom works and why it could be the ideal training option for you.

Register today! Our spring schedule includes:

  • Writing Client-Focused Letters, February 23   
  • Email...Think Before You Hit Send, March 1   
  • Using a Writing Process, March 8 
  • Editing Techniques for Managers, March 22   
  • Solving the Grammar Dilemma, April 5, April 12 and April 19   
  • Writing Proposals that Win Appeal, April 5, April 12 and April 19   
  • The Plain Language Approach to Writing, April 26, May 3 and May 10   
  • Writing Effective Reports, April 26, May 3 and May 10
  • Creating Policy and Procedure Manuals, May 24, May 31 and June 7   


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