Group work com­mu­ni­ca­tion

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - HIGHER EDUCATION - By EllEn WhytE When one e-mail deals with three topics, and then grows in length, feel free to break it up into three sep­a­rate e-mail mes­sages, each de­voted to one dis­cus­sion only. This makes things more man­age­able – and you might be able to cut down in

IF you’re work­ing on a group project, you’ll prob­a­bly be ex­chang­ing a few e-mail mes­sages. Here are some tips on keep­ing such com­mu­ni­ca­tions sim­ple and ef­fec­tive.

De­cide on a plan

When you set up the job, work out who’s go­ing to do what, and set dead­lines. Write these down and con­firm them. Af­ter this, dis­cuss how you’ll com­mu­ni­cate. One way is to set up a bul­letin board (a pri­vate Face­book group can work if your col­lege won’t give you fa­cil­i­ties) where you all share. Agree on how of­ten ev­ery­one has to check this.

Watch who you CC

If you’re work­ing in a small group, and it’s a short project, you can CC ev­ery­one on ev­ery­thing. How­ever, this can snow­ball re­ally quickly. You can limit the e-mail chat by choos­ing care­fully who you CC.

You may choose to e-mail one per­son 10 times over an is­sue, and then is­sue one group

e-mail when it’s com­pleted.

Use white space

If a mes­sage has three bits of in­for­ma­tion in it, write each one in a sen­tence, and leave a blank line be­tween them. This makes it eas­ier to see, eas­ier to read and eas­ier to re­mem­ber.

Edit replies

When you re­ply to a mes­sage, don’t write your mes­sage on top and ex­pect people to whiz through it to con­nect the dots. In­stead, re­spond to each point in­side the e-mail. This al­lows people to see the dis­cus­sion in a threaded way. Also, cut out stuff you don’t need so the e-mail doesn’t ri­val a full-grown python for length.

If you’re work­ing on a group project, keep your com­mu­ni­ca­tions sim­ple and ef­fec­tive. — AP

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