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Strong Bad EmailSuppose Bob is George’s manager at your place of business. Suppose now that this email toast pops up on your screen one morning:

From: Bob
Subject: George

That’s kind of ambiguous, don’t you think? What could that mean? What couldn’t that mean? Maybe I’m pessimistic, but my mind immediately jumps to “George is no longer with the organization, please forward all correspondence to Jimmy.”

More often than not, once you actually open the email, it’s “George will be out today. Please get with Jimmy if you need anything.” Dude, why couldn’t you have indicated that in the subject? Instead of just “George”, try “George out today”.

It’s such a little thing but it makes a huge difference in the communication’s effectiveness. I’d go so far as to say it impacts morale, too. If you work at an organization that’s known for having difficulty retaining personnel, you and your colleagues are already primed to think the worst. An email like that popping up reminds everyone for a moment of the fragility of their jobs, and even after they’ve read that George is going to the dentist this morning, they’re still left with the original uncomfortable thought. That’s instant subconscious organization-wide crappy morale. Ruins the day whether you realize it or not.

So remember everyone, choose your words wisely and communicate effectively!