Become A Better Communicator By Email


(By James Bahm) One of the topics I cover in my book and discussed extensively in my columns here and on social media is communication. It is essential if you want a long and successful career. This week, let’s look at ways you can become a better communicator.

For some in our industry, communicating better means simply attempting to communicate and follow up. If you laugh at that statement, take a moment, and look at what customers say about how poorly salespeople communicate. I’m in my fourth decade of professional work and I can say without hesitation that sellers are among the poorest communicators. Among some of the complaints I saw online were:

  1. A lack of clarity in their message.
  2. A lack of cohesion.
  3. Misspelled words and/or careless typos.
  4. Using the incorrect word – or using a word incorrectly.

Let’s tackle these one by one.


Customers want to work with professionals who are subject matter experts, and when you follow up with them they want to be told what to do next, without any hesitation from you. When I say hesitation I mean two things. First, reply to their email/voicemail promptly. Second, there should be no uncertainty in your words.

The former is self-explanatory.  Here’s how to convey the latter:

Hi Customer,

I look forward to working with you. To recap what I mentioned in our meeting earlier, here are the steps to begin your campaign. 

  1. Complete your account setup in our portal.
  2. Submit the credit check for your business.
  3. Enter your automatic payment method (Credit/Debit Card, ACH – automated clearing house via your business checking account).
  4. All companies new to our stations must pay in advance for a minimum of six months before receiving Net 15 payment terms.

I’ve entered your order into our system; however, the system will not allow me to submit it as long as these are pending. Once these are completed, I’ll receive an email and submit the order to begin your campaign as early as tomorrow – which we confirmed earlier.  

There is no uncertainty in that brief email laying out what the customer must do for their campaign to begin.


Ever get an email that’s more disjointed than a teenager giving an account of why they got lost on their way home from a date? That’s how I feel reading through some internal emails. Worse yet, I’ve felt that way when I was sitting in a meeting with a sales manager who said they’d be brief – then spoke for close to an hour.

The best advice I can give you on being cohesive is to write your email in a Word doc, read it a time or two, and then look at how you can condense it and keep the message the same. If you need to communicate something that cannot be condensed, call them, and have a conversation.


Spell check should catch these; however, I often see Word or Outlook miss things that Gmail catches. Grammarly is a free resource everyone should use.



  • Except is a preposition to exclude – everyone is going except Bobo.
  • Accept is a verb meaning to receive – will you accept the job if offered?


  • Then is used in reference to time. (Think of the “e” being there for what’s next) – I’m going to the store, then I’ll be home.
  • Than is used as a comparison. I’m taller than my daughter.


  • Take is used when the direction is away – Please take out the trash.
  • Bring is used when the direction is towards – Please bring me the remote.

Remember, if you are carrying something away from the speaker, you must use take. If you are carrying something toward the speaker, you must use bring.


  • Affect is a verb meaning to produce an effect upon – The wildfires affected half of the city.
  • Effect is typically a noun used to mean a change that results when something is done or happens – Technology has had a huge effect on our society.


  • Lose is a verb – I hope to lose ten pounds this year.
  • Loose is an adjective meaning not tight – My daughter has a loose tooth.


  • Use farther when discussing a physical distance – Costco is farther away than Kroger.
  • Use further when it’s metaphorical or figurative – Please allow me to take this topic further.


  • If the word has a “C” it’s a noun – I need your advice.
  • If it has an “S” it’s a verb – Please advise on the best option.

If you want to be taken seriously in your position, the tips here can help you write and communicate better; however, you may find that ignoring these tips will hurt your career trajectory.

Bottom Line: Managing the micro details of communication can transform your career from stagnant mediocrity to incredible growth. 

James Bahm has over 30 years of experience in broadcasting, sales and marketing, and recruiting and hiring and is currently working on the follow-up to Don’t Yuck My Yum! and can be reached via email: [email protected]


  1. Email communication skills are at a pathetic low, not only for the points made within the article – especially on clarity and cohesion — but also in terms of completeness. I’m not a friend you’re texting, I’m a business contact where your ultimate goal is to convince me to spend money with you.


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