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Are You Doing A Waltz Or Cha-Cha-Cha In Your Emails?

Womenlines takes pleasure to welcome Shirley Taylor as a guest Influencer at Womenlines panel. Shirley is a leading authority on business writing and communication skills and an international bestselling author. In her article, Shirley wants organizations to check which style of email communication are they following and she is also sharing tips on how  to add a human touch in communication?


I’m so glad to have received a great response to my message recent article ‘Don’t write like a robot. Make a human difference’. You may remember that I compared two different emails, one that sounded like a robot, and another that sounded like a human being.

This week, let’s explore the different styles of communication throughout history. Whatever the era, it seems to me that communication has always been rather like a dance.

1919: The Waltz

In the first half of the 20th century, the wheels of commerce turned very slowly, so communication was a slow dance, rather like a waltz. People kept each other at a distance, they built relationships very slowly, as they moved around the dance floor… one two three, one two three, one two three.

And yes, when they wrote letters and memos, on their manual typewriters, they still danced the waltz, with their long sentences, formal language, and passive voice.

2019: The Cha-Cha-Cha

Today, we need to get to know people quickly, so we are more informal and friendly. Today our dance is like a cha-cha-cha. It’s lively, full of energy, a little playful… one two cha-cha-cha, one two cha-cha-cha, one two cha-cha-cha.

However, something strange happens when we put our fingers on our computer keyboard to write an email. Suddenly our writing becomes more formal, with passive voice, long sentences, and flowery words. We switch back to a waltz!

Today, many people have two voices – one voice for speaking and a different voice for writing. 

Let me share an example from a huge organisation I worked within one of the most modern countries in the world – Singapore. Their aims were to stand out from the competition with a customer-friendly attitude that’s approachable, warm, and caring.

If you called their hotline, you may hear a recorded message saying, “Hey, we’re sorry, we’re on another call right now. Hang tight and we’ll be with you very soon.”

But then… when they emailed customers, they were writing things like this: 

This email sounds like something that could be written by a robot that’s programmed to perfection.

What’s happening in your organisation?

Are your emails like a cha-cha-cha? Do they sound like a human voice, friendly and warm, with everyday language and active voice?

Or are your emails more like a waltz? Do they sound like a robot, cold, formal and distant, very monotone and template?

In business today, we need to get things done quickly, we need to connect, build relationships and create trust. This will happen quicker with the human voice.

Let’s work together to make a human difference

 I would love to work with you and your organisation to bring back the human touch to all your communications. Let’s encourage all our teams to make a human difference. Check out my popular signature business writing programme here. I can customise this training especially for you and do this as half-day, one-day or two-day. Just let me know what works for you.

Shirley Taylor

Shirley Taylor is a leading authority on business writing and communication skills and an international bestselling author. She lives in Singapore and conducts popular business writing training programmes. She also speaks globally on making a human difference in our high-tech world. www.shirleytaylor.com – www.sttstraining.com



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