- Understand that Email is not always the best form of contact
If you have a really important issue to discuss, or you are upset with someone, emailing is generally not the best answer. Speak to the individual in-person, or if that’s not possible, pick up the telephone and call them. And if two emails have gone back and forth, and you’re about to send a third, DON’T! Pick up the phone and SPEAK to the person, human to human.
- Don’t say anything in email you wouldn’t say in person
This advice has certainly been given before. But, it is always worth reminding ourselves about the importance of being polite, professional, and helpful. From my perspective, all of us need to be very customer-focused at all times, regardless of who we see as our ‘customer.’
- Use a good “Title” in your Subject Line
Effectively use the Subject Line – it’s the Title of your email. A good Subject Line/Title increases the chance your intended message will actually be read.
AND – if the subject changes within the email, don’t keep using an old “re:irrelevant title;” change the Subject Line/Title to reflect the updated email info before resending.
- Keep it Short
Emails should be brief and to the point. If the message really NEEDS to be long, break it up into ‘easy-to-read’ sections, using bullet points. Generally, you want to keep your email to less than 5 sentences; doing so helps both the writer and the reader.
- Don’t ignore basics of English
Just because it’s an email, doesn’t mean we can write it like a text message. Doing so indicates laziness and a lack of professionalism. Keeping it short doesn’t mean it is OK to ignore grammar rules and proper spelling.
- Use “TO” and “CC” appropriately
When someone’s name goes on the “TO” line, it signifies they are expected to ‘DO SOMETHING’ about the contents of the email. When someone’s name goes on the ‘CC’ line, it signifies they are receiving the email for ‘information only.’
If you put multiple names on the “TO” line, be sure to spell-out within the body of the email exactly what each person is expected to do.
- Be careful about ‘Replying To All’
Make sure you understand the difference between replying to one person and replying to everyone on the initial message. Many, if not MOST emails do not need to be sent to a large group. It distracts people from important tasks, and slows down the communication process. Before hitting ‘reply all,’ re-read tip # 6.
- Acknowledge Important Emails
If somebody sends you important documents, files or a message, make sure to quickly acknowledge receipt; otherwise, the sender may be uncertain that you received them. It doesn’t have to be long; it can simply read ‘thanks, I got your info and will reply soon.’
- Create a Standard Response
If you find yourself sending repetitive responses, compose a ‘draft message’ and save it in your drafts folder. You can then use your standardized response over and over again; just don’t forget to personalize it by including that receiver’s name within your message.