The Problem With Brevity in Digital Communication

VIDEO: Author Erica Dhawan explains why managers shouldn’t create a culture of immediate responses.

In the business world, many people expect quick responses. But dashing off an email can cause confusion—especially if you haven’t taken the time to make sure your message is clear, warns Erica Dhawan, author of Digital Body Language.

Many senior leaders are guilty of this because they’re busy and incorrectly assume that their teams will understand what they mean. “You’re allowed to be brief,” Dhawan says, “but you have to make sure that your team knows the who, what and when of a work request.”

Watch the video to learn more tips for effective digital communication.



  • [Presenter] When it comes to digital communication, short isn’t always sweet.
  • [Erica Dhawan] One of the most important things that you can do is to never confuse a brief message with a clear message.
  • [Erica Dhawan] Now we all know that we’re in situations where we’re busy, where we’re rushing to get things done, where we may not read every single word in a message. But the reality is, is that reading carefully today is the new art of listening.
  • [Presenter] Here are some simple ways to improve your digital communication.
  • [Erica Dhawan] One of my favorite examples is to create a set of email acronyms on your team to help individuals understand what you mean by messages. For example, “NNTR” could mean, no need to respond.
  • [Presenter] With your team, agree on abbreviations for email subject lines that help them prioritize tasks.
  • [Erica Dhawan] For example, 4H could mean, I need this in four hours, or 2D could mean, I need this in two days.
  • [Erica Dhawan] Simple acronyms to help your teammates understand response time expectations can reduce a lot of the anxiety that comes in traditional digital body language.
  • [Presenter] For more ways to get inspired, visit