Have you ever written in reverse? No? You’re probably wondering what the hell is writing in reverse? Well in this post I’m going to explain some tips to improve written communication so the recipient and sender are in unison. All the information I’m going to present is based on what I’ve read and would like to share.
Writing in reverse is simple: You have to reverse the roles of the writer (you) with the recipient (your audience).
With the ever-growing and expanding digital age we live in, written communication such as E – mail, text messaging, and social media direct messages (DM’s) are the standard and sometimes messages can be misinterpreted. Writing in reverse is a beneficial way of approaching how to construct your messages because it keeps you from :
- writing purely from an emotional perspective
- writing too much
- writing what is not helpful to the recipient
This can be easier said than done and that’s why writing in reverse is an emotionally intelligent activity because it helps you develop and with time strengthen your empathy muscle. Additionally, it can keep you aligned from having your emotions dictate your message. Let’s face it, whenever you get a rejection Email from a job (from my experience they rarely ever respond due to it possibly being an automated message) or a message that is filled with undesirable language, situations, or whatever the case may be, we want to unleash our frustrations on the recipient. With that said, taking a pause and breath, if necessary stepping away to gather your thoughts will ultimately give you a relaxed mind to not rush and make a situation unfavorable for you.
So, whenever you receive that message and are tempted to write an emotional response, write in reverse by doing the following:
- 1. If you’re writing a reply, first acknowledge the initial message. Then, wait. There’s no need to rush your response because you might leave something out you wanted to say and let the receipt know if you can’t reply to the message immediately, you will at your leisure. This will put them at ease and acknowledge you’ve seen their message and are serious about corresponding.
- 2. Write your message and save it as a draft. I sometimes do this and go over it to make sure I said everything needed and made sure I came across professionally. Writing a draft can also give you the chance to “vent” because after all the draft is for your eyes only.
- 3. Let some time pass; then, review and revise your draft.
Keeping your recipient in mind, ask yourself:
- Am I writing too much?
- Is the message confusing? Will it raise more questions than it will answer?
- Is there anything that could be misinterpreted, or that sounds angry, desperate, or emotional?
- Is there anything unnecessary I can remove from this message?
- Would it be better to communicate this by phone (or in-person)?
Try to keep things as succinct and comprehensible as possible. Furthermore, at the end of the day, it’s about executing these steps, and with much practice you’ll use these steps naturally and save yourself time, frustration and will write messages your recipient will understand and find helpful. Below are some examples…
(Sender) Hey Steve, thanks for your message. Can’t reply this second, but I will get back to you asap …
(Recipient) Hey again, thanks again for your message yesterday. Yes, I have some ideas on this and am moving forward. Would love to hear your suggestions–please send them over and then we can discuss. We can also call if you like.
Sounds good! Here they are–look forward to discussing
So, writing in reverse will give you and your audience exactly what is needed without any excess. Subsequently, you get what you need from them: freedom, confidence, and peace of mind.