Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Tips For Effective Email Communication

Monday 15 September, 2008
Effective communication is the key to success in anything you do. Because an email can easily be misconstrued as to its meaning and tone, it is important to take the time to construct it so that a clear, friendly message is sent.
Whether you are communicating internally or externally, with clients, subordinates or colleagues, it is imperative that you are concise, kind and considerate. 
Using all capital letters is considered raising your voice; using acronyms and all lower case letters is considered juvenile and unprofessional.
Not having the proper greeting and closing is considered rude. People can form all kinds of opinions of you from your email exchanges without you even being aware.
The best way to determine whether your communication sets the proper tone and provides complete information, is to proofread it as if you are the recipient. Putting yourself in the receiver's shoes for a minute and allowing yourself to think about the message and feel its tone will allow you to construct better emails. 
In addition, think about whether you have any questions after reading it. The goal is always that the reader has no additional questions after reading your email so you can avoid multiple exchanges in an attempt to clarify what you could have already set forth in the initial communication.
Four main email pitfalls to avoid are:
  1. Don't send the email to the wrong person or not including all parties

    If you are drafting a lengthy email, leave the 'To:' section blank until just before you are ready to send and then carefully include the proper individuals.
  2. Don't forget to attach the attachment

    As soon as you refer to an attachment, attach it at that point rather than waiting until you complete your draft which increases the likelihood of forgetting.
  3. Don't include information that you would not want anyone but the recipient to see

    Remember that emails can be forwarded to anyone. Leave editorial and unpleasant comments out, as you do not know where your email could land and the written word cannot be retracted.
  4. Don't send an email while angry

    Use the 24 hour rule. Draft your email and then let it sit as a draft until your cooler head prevails. There is a very good likelihood that you will re-draft it the next day.
Email is a great tool and time saver.  It can be your best friend or worst enemy.
Use these tips to make it your ally.

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