Many medical practice staff members, managers, and physicians struggle when attempting to communicate effectively via e-mail. Here are some suggestions.
As medical practice managers and recruiters, we hear the constant refrain of over-communicate versus under-communicate. But how much communication is too much?
We find that many practice staff members, managers, and physicians struggle when attempting to communicate effectively via e-mail. As I’m sure my fellow over-communicators can also attest, there is nothing more frustrating than putting together a carefully crafted email with all necessary information, only to have the recipients come back with a litany of questions that are all answered in the e-mail itself.
While these aren’t completely foolproof, here are some effective e-mail tips that I have found to be helpful:
• Be thoughtful with your formatting. Bold, italics, and ALL CAPS can be useful, especially if you are crafting a long e-mail. Use them to draw attention to key points. Ask yourself, “If they only read one section of this, which section do I want it to be?” And then make that part stand out.
• Edit, edit, edit. This will get easier with time and, at first, is downright painful. But you’ll be surprised how a few simple edits (taking out superfluous words, removing sentences/paragraphs that don’t actually add anything) can cut your document in half and make it twice as readable.
• Set expectations and deadlines - but make sure they’re always relevant. If every e-mail you send requests a response immediately, then the term “immediately” begins to lose meaning for your recipients. Begin your e-mails by giving a realistic timeframe in regard to expected responses, and also let your readers know what you want from them, whether that’s a quick skim and basic feedback or detailed analysis.
What are some methods you find helpful when sending out e-mails to staff, managers, and/or physicians?