Thursday, September 15, 2011
FENG SHUI FOR THE VIRTUAL INBOX: How to write emails that generate desired feedback and flow in your personal and professional life
How to write emails that generate desired feedback and flow in your personal and professional life
Feng Shui is about feeling good. These positive vibrations are generated through the strategic placement of items, colors and shapes within space. What we call “positive flow” and “energizing” also created. Positive vibrations of color, shape and symbolic images or items are placed in areas that represent as well as actually hold the energies associated with different aspects of our lives, i.e. wealth, career, reputation, knowledge, partnerships, family, health, and offspring. There always are ways by which we can enhance or detract from these areas of our lives in a conscious or unconscious way. FS supports the enhancement of flow, and thereby, the enhancement of the positive.
FS is meant to simplify your life, so say what needs to be said to get your point across without cluttering the topic or the reader’s mind and leave it at that. Use bullets or indentations to streamline items or points, thinking about tone, but never overlooking the overall look of the email. Congestion and crowding is never good in FS and certainly an obstacle in any written material: think negative space. Allow for flow of thought and meaning by creating white space between lines, in margins and surrounding important details and thoughts. Consider the effectiveness and power in a well-placed pause; a moment to land and rest or punctuate a particularly important point. This dramatic effect also can be achieved through well-placed white space within an electronic communication.
Break up the monotony of a dense email or imbue an otherwise uninspired message with an interesting image easily found in online clip art or a search engine such as Google Images. When including a link or email address and phone number, double check for accuracy.
Make your subject header reflect the content of your message without being wordy or negative. Directive and warnings, although in rare circumstances of emergency necessary, are inappropriate in written correspondence headers. They can be interpreted as unnecessarily brash or commanding, which is out of place in an increasingly lateral workplace which no longer aligns with blatantly hierarchical approaches to management or information dissemination.
It’s important to be impactful without sounding dictatorial or one-sided. After all, the essence of FS is simplicity and positive flow; effective communication is never one-directional and neither is effective FS. It’s ebb and flow, to and fro’, that enlivens a message as well as a space. This approach engages the reader shift focus and tempo, thereby stimulating greater attention toward subject matter, temporarily relieving and refreshing the eye and mind-- important facets of FS-- freshness and focal points.
In FS we discipline ourselves to the items necessary and those that offer symbolic value in areas we wish represented and energized. The same goes for writing. Less is always more and being concise without being terse or blunt is the goal for good writing. Hold in mind your goal, both in content as well as audience. Although you may be separated by miles or dramatically differ in perspective, you must remember your intention as well as your reader. For any communication, despite the theme, your fundamental goal is to share an idea, request, requirement or support. Ask yourself once you have read aloud your message-- and always read aloud your messages before sending-- have I
• communicated clearly
• communicated respectfully
• communicated positively
• underscored the most important aspect(s) with effective language, symbols or, yes, an underscore
• invited a confirmation of understanding; an opportunity for questions; and further communication
• thanked the reader for his or her time, consideration and involvement
• “de-cluttered” my message to offer simplicity and conciseness while not sacrificing communicative tone
• created a message that will inspire the response required in the time frame necessary
• considered the bigger, long-term picture and allowed opportunity for future discourse
• truly represented yourself and your intentions through word choice, tone and appearance of message?
This last bullet is just as important as those which preceded it because it indicates the necessity of authenticity, and FS is about representing self in the clearest ways possible, creating goals and consciously shifting energies in a direction that supports who you really are and what you most want to enhance and offset to ensure your personal vision for your life is optimally achieved. In your communication, be authentic as well as appropriate, and watch how alignment to your truth serves not only your impact in written communications, but your entire life. Nothing on earth vibrates as perfectly as truth.