Following are some tips for effective use of email communications.
- Let your Subject Line speak for itself. You don’t have to put all the details in there, but say in a few words what the email is about. For example: “Rescheduling meeting of August 3rd”. Your recipient will immediately know what the purpose of the email is and will less likely ignore it.
- Keep your message short and sweet. Who has time for long emails nowadays? No one! So keep it short, but polite and especially clear on what it is you need from the recipient. Know what the purpose is of your message and send a separate email if the topics are unrelated.
- Before hitting Send, be sure to check the spelling, grammar and language. Is your message clear and to the point?
- Familiarize yourself with email etiquette. Don’t use all Caps (= screaming) , don’t use abbreviations and emoticons in business correspondence, watch your tone and don’t be demanding or rude. It’s difficult to express your tone in writing, so be careful.
- Attachments. Double-check if you attached the right document. Keep compatibility of the document in mind and use an older version of i.e. Word because not everyone may have the latest MS Office. Or convert to the a more universal format like PDF. If possible, decrease the file size of your attachment. Photos can be edited with special software, or use a Zip program to bundle documents in a zip file. Your recipients will thank you for not clogging their Inbox.
- When replying, delete unnecessary info or email treads. Don’t Reply to All unless they need to stay in the loop. Use Bcc (blind carbon copy) to protect multiple recipients’ privacy, even if it looks like you’re sending the message to yourself. Reply to your emails within 24-48 hours otherwise they’ll get ‘lost’ in your Inbox, plus you might be paid the same respect.
- Create a good signature file that includes your business and contact info. Why not use this free tool to market yourself? Add a tag line or your favorite quote to make it more memorable!
- Keep your email lines to 70 characters and use ‘hard’ returns. This one is new to me, but it makes sense considering that not everyone may have the latest and greatest monitor, so they may have to scroll to the rigth to read the entire line. Anything to make it easier and be read!
- My last tip is related to your mood when writing an email. If you are angry or upset, WAIT 12-24 hours before sending that message. Go ahead and write that email (leaving the To box empty) and express your anger, pour out your dissatisfaction, delete and rewrite, repeat, write down whatever is bothering you, but just DO NOT send the message out! Once it’s gone, it’s out there and cannot be retrieved! So don’t be a hot-head! When you go back after a few hours, your head will be clear, your emotions will be calm, you may see things differently, and you will be better able to get your point accross by leaving the emotions out of the equation. I have done this several times and I’m sure I saved myself many embarassing moments. You have to think about the purpose of your email. What do you want to achieve? Not war I hope 🙂
Follow these tips to get your message across effectively and you will surely get the feedback you want or need.