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Effective Email Communication


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A recent study showed that 25% of the workforce spent at least one hour per day managing and writing business emails, of which 34% were irrelevant. Thats 2 hours per week you may as well be sitting on the beach sipping pina coladas!

Consider this. Every email you send at work is like a personal PR agent. What do your emails say about you? My sender is disorganised/creative/thoughtful/unthinking?

Here are 10 tips to ensure your business emails are giving people the right impression and help stem the flow of junk emails.

1. Stop and think!

Are you emailing to say youd telephone when the fax goes through? Is a phone call more appropriate? Choosing the right communication medium will increase your chance of being listened to.

2. Prevent premature sending

To avoid sending a badly spelled, half written pile of rubbish, wait until you have written the email before you key in the recipients names. Hitting send too early is a painful, toe-curling experience.

3. Be professional

You lose control of your email as soon as you hit the send button so stick to professional language. Out go all ist comments racist, sexist, ageist, genderist (okay so I made that last one up but you get my drift). Even your own brand of oh so funny humour can cause offence in the wrong hands.

4. If in doubt, spell it out!

How well you know your audience will dictate whether you use short hand, jargon, abbreviations and emoticons. If in doubt, spell it out! Always err on the side of being too polite and respectful, particularly when talking to work colleagues and where translation may be required.

Use the spell-check and re-read your email before it goes out. To, two and too will all be spelled correctly but which is the correct in context? And to all you text savvy hipsters out there I h8 ur txt style emails. Leave it to the kids.

5. Be precise, concise and clear

7 Keep it brief.

7 Use the subject header.

7 Get to the point, quickly.

7 Use urgent flags sparingly.

7 Use bullets (did you see how I cunningly demonstrated by example)

6. Tailor emails to your audience

Always open emails with a hello and use the name that they signed off with, even if its crazyhorse38!

If you must send the same email to loads of people, put their address in the bcc box and use just one email address in the To box . This keeps the persons email address private and makes it look like youve taken the time to write a personal email.

Gettting technical, there are mail merge functions that do all the hard work for you. Warning to novice emailers test before you go emailing the world!

7. Most people cant read minds.

Writing to a career site requesting all the stuff you have on getting a job could at best land you with a load of bandwidth hungry information or at worst be ignored. The more specific you are, the more likely you are to get a response.

If responding to multiple questions embedded in a large mail, copy the questions into your mail and write your answers next to them.

8. Keep your cool

Your emotional state can slip into an email without notice, with curt sentences, skipped pleasantries and blunt asks. I purposefully let these emails gather dust until the person writes again in a more appropriate tone or picks up the phone. You wouldnt tolerate someone coming to your desk and having a tantrum?

TAKE OFF THE CAPS LOCK KEY. Its rude to shout.

9. Need to know basis.

A common email warfare tactic is to cc in senior managers in the vain thought that this adds weight to the communication. Fight your fights in private so that when you really need someone else to step in, they know you mean it.

10. Be clean and tidy!

Attachments clog up networks and spread viruses. Could the salient points be pasted into the email? If you value your PC, only open attachments if you trust the source. Use spam filters and delete chain emails or other scams and make the web world a better place.

And finally, always sign off professionally.

Best Regards


About the Author

Lyndsay Swinton is an experienced team leader, people manager and  business coach. Her website is - 'Management for the rest of us'.  Subscribe to her free no-nonsense Management Tips newsletter at  today.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2006-06-18 23:55:06 in Computer Articles

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