A Few Tips to get you started!
- Timing is Everything – These days we are all very busy and can get inundated with emails on a daily basis. But, it’s common courtesy to reply to all emails within 24 hours of receiving them. To make your life easier, keep your inbox organized and don’t let it get backed up with unread messages. If you are going to be unable to reply to emails (due to vacation, illness, etc.) then be sure to set an out of office message that will automatically alert people to expect a delayed reply.
- Subject Matters – Make sure you insert a clear, concise, relevant subject line on your email. This helps the recipient quickly understand what the message will be about and act accordingly. If the content of the message requires immediate attention, you can use words like “Important” at the front of your subject line. But use this sparingly or else you become the “Boy who cried wolf” and people will not treat any of your emails as urgent.
- Easy on the Eyes – If you have a lot of points to make in your message, use paragraph breaks, bulleted lists, bolded headings, etc to organize the content and make it more visually appealing. There is nothing worse than receiving an email that is one giant block of text and trying to sift through it to see what is meaningful.
- Set Clear Expectations – If your email requires the recipient(s) to take action, you need to clearly define what is expected of each individual and by what date. If necessary, you can even dedicate a whole section of your email to “To Do’s” or “Deliverables” and make a bulleted list of each task and it’s respective due date.
- Where’s the Attachment? – If you reference an attachment in your email, be 100% sure you actually attached it to the message before sending. Too often, people get caught up in writing the content of the email and hit send before attaching the file(s).
- Careful with Reply All – When you receive an email that has a long list of recipients, be very careful in your use of the Reply All functionality. First, ask yourself if everyone on the email needs to see your reply. There’s a big difference between “needs to see” and “nice to see”, know the difference and limit the recipient list to only those who matter. Second, be careful not to say anything that could be out of line or offensive to other people on the email chain.
- WHY ARE YOU SHOUTING? – The CAPS key is meant to be used very sparingly and only in cases where creating emphasis is absolutely necessary. Writing a whole email in CAPS can and will be perceived as “shouting” and can offend the recipient.
- Spelinng Materrs – Thanks to technology, we don’t have to worry about misspelling words in our emails any more. So there is no excuse for an email that includes spelling mistakes – it makes you look careless. But you must be sure that your spellcheck tool is active and is set to scan your email before it is sent.
- Save the Address for Last – This tip can really save you from making a monumental email blunder! When writing a new email, address the email to your recipients as the very last step. It is far too easy to accidentally hit send on a message you haven’t yet completed or proofread.
- Three Emails Too Many – Email can sometimes make it difficult to fully comprehend what someone is trying to communicate. As a general rule of thumb, if the matter you are trying to resolve does not get sorted out in just two emails, then pick up the phone and discuss it in real-time with the other person. This will save everyone a lot of time and stress.