Have you ever opened your inbox to find dozens, even hundreds of new e-mails stacked one on top of the other? Every time we sit down at our computers, it seems we’re bombarded by images and stimuli. That can be really overwhelming, and can cause us to miss important communications.
Creating effective e-mail communications can minimize the time and energy you spend on business communications, and make all of your virtual interactions more effective.
Here are some simple suggestions to help you maximize your e-mail communications.
- Use the subject line to alert your reader. For example — Subject: Draft memo to Client X; please review and respond by Thursday at 4:00 PM. If you require immediate action, say so. If you need something by a certain time and date, say that too. While this may seem pushy, it’s the best way to alert your reader as to what’s going on. An inbox full of “No Subject” e-mails means that all e-mails have to be read before prioritization can occur.
- Use proper grammar and spelling. This does not include “txtng shortcuts b/c they r easier 4 u, lol!” Business e-mail is business writing, whether or not it’s done from your iPhone. Re-read what you’ve written (especially if you’re on a device which uses Autocorrect!) and use your spell check. Each time you hit the “Send” button, you’re sending literature which represents you and your business.
- Say what you need to say, concisely and fully. Don’t ask your reader to guess at what you want. For really important e-mails, create an outline before you start writing using the Executive Summary technique. If you’re trying to set up an appointment, offer the recipient a few dates and times to cut down on the back-and-forth. If you’re responding to another e-mail, answer all questions posed and try to anticipate any that might come up in future communications.
- Address your communications only to those who really need to see them. Unless he or she asks specifically, your boss probably doesn’t want to be cc’d on every e-mail you send. If appropriate, spend a few minutes writing a summary for those who don’t need to be directly involved in the e-mail string.
- All e-mail should be considered public information — because if it gets into the wrong hands, it very well could be. Keep things professional, simple, and to-the-point. Always re-read what you have written, and ask yourself if you’d be comfortable posting it in print on your office door. If you must vent about a coworker or a personal issue, do it in person with someone you trust (and preferably not at the water cooler; that’s so passé.)
- Exercise is still good for you—and your relationships. If the topic at hand is best discussed face-to-face, get up from your desk and walk over to your coworker—or exercise your fingers and dial. E-mail is a wonderful tool, but it’s nowhere near as effective for building relationships as an actual conversation.
- And finally… Have Faith! The Dalai Lama will not send you bad karma if you don’t forward his words to eight people in eight minutes. While chain e-mails may be fun, and occasionally enlightening, they also waste a lot of time—so read them at home.
More great email tips are available at www.netmanners.com and www.emailreplies.com. Both sites provide good lists for creating and responding to email effectively.
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE, BLOG OR WEBSITE? Please do, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Dawn Quesnel, CPCC, PCC, known as Coach DQ, is a professional coach, radio show host and workshop leader. Through the use of her B.R.I.D.G.E. programs she helps marketing, advertising, and creative entrepreneurs navigate career or business transition while maintaining a healthy career-life balance. Her core belief that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, consistently leads clients to uncover hidden resources and strengths. B.R.I.D.G.E. the gap and accelerate your career so you can love your life now! Visit www.CareerLifeBalance.net or http://www.coachdq.com today or for more information email me.