Email.jpgEmail. Remember when getting an email message was so “special” there was an audible announcement of its arrival? “Ding – You’ve Got Mail.” Heck, Tom Hanks even did a movie with the novelty of this new communication tool as its foundation. Love it or hate it, email has permanently changed the way we communicate with others both inside and outside the workplace. And really, who doesn’t find 100-plus new messages a day a change for the good? Especially those notices communicating my winning a lottery in another country!

When reading the plethora of emails we all receive, do you ever find yourself scratching your head in confusion? While email has become one of the most popular means of communicating with others, some common bad email habits have crept into our daily lives as well. These bad habits often distort or confound the message being sent. To help you prevent your audience from scratching their heads at your emails, we submit the following Top Five Email Do’s and Don’ts.

  1. To Email or Not to Email, that is the question. Rule #1: Ensure email is the best vehicle for your communications. In some cases, picking up the phone or having a face-to-face conversation may be better than email. Emailing someone does not guarantee an immediate response, as they may choose to respond later after having a chance to think about your message. If you call, you are able to get a response faster and streamline a conversation that could potentially take several email exchanges.

  2. Beat around the bush at your own peril. Rule #2: Be direct. Get to the point at the beginning of your message. Ask questions or provide answers within the first couple of sentences. This ensures you won’t lose the reader’s attention or confuse or annoy him or her with unnecessary information. Give your explanations and details later in your message, AFTER the recipient knows the purpose of your email.

  3. OK, so now what do I do? Rule #3: State who should respond and when. If you send an email to more than one person, be clear on who is responsible for what. A group email can cause confusion, leading the recipients to assume that someone else will take care of your request. Also, if you need a response by a certain time, state that in your email. Otherwise, your request may get pushed down on their to-do list.

  4. Less is more. Rule #4: Keep your emails to one topic. By including more than one topic, you run the risk of something being overlooked or ignored.

  5. As your elementary teacher said, “Spelling Counts.” Rule #5: Last, but certainly not least, remember the rules of punctuation and grammar. In today’s digital world, we are using shortcuts everywhere, from text messaging to the spoken word. However, by ignoring basic grammar and punctuation rules, your message may be misunderstood and it may take more time for the recipient to decode your message. An email is NOT a text message—especially in the business realm. Use complete sentences and take the time to proofread your email before pressing ‘send.’

By following these simple rules, your email communications will be more effective for both you and your readers. Orgwide can help improve your email communications—just call us or send us an email to learn more. Until next time, remember to take care of the customer, take care of each other, and take care of yourself.

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