Who are you talking to?

Who Are You Talking To?

Who are you talking to? This is the one question that needs to be answered before writing a letter, memo, or email.  Answering this question will set the tone of the message; determine the method of delivery; and the length of the message in your correspondence.


The conversations you have with co-workers are different from those you have with your supervisor.  Well, they should be.  The same logic holds true in writing.  Your tone with co-workers will be informal to semi-formal depending on the relationship.  Correspondence with your supervisor should be semi-formal to formal.  Be mindful of the level of your supervisor’s authority regardless of how “open” the organization is.

Method of Delivery

The Internet has skewed interpersonal communications and basic manners.  Communications have gotten very informal and more immediate.  With all of the options available today, there are some things that hold true.

  1. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn should not be used as your primary source of communication at work.  Or at home for that matter.
  2. Respond to a message in the same manner in which it was received.  If someone emailed you, do not text, call, or respond via Facebook unless directed to do so.  Take time from your busy schedule to respond appropriately.
  3. You may have to pull out pen and paper to jot down your message.

Length of Message

This will vary based on your message and the recipient.  Always include who, what, when, where, why, and how.  If you have to write a five page letter to get your point across, do it.  It’s better to have two much information than not enough.  On the other hand, if you can get your message across in one paragraph, that’s excellent.  Do not forget to edit your writings.

Remember, knowing who you are talking to is the first consideration prior to writing anything.  The tone, method of delivery, and length of message is determined by this decision.  Use proper etiquette and basic manners when writing, and don’t forget to put “YOU” in your messages.