So far I have given you four tips for writing effective emails:
- Have separate email addresses for social and business communication
- Make the subject line work for you. Think carefully about how you word it
- Be as brief as possible without losing necessary content
- Make reading your emails a pleasant experience
Now, here are three more which will help you be interact thoughtfully with your reader
5. Proof read
Badly spellt emales, bad use of punctuation; or the useof abreviations, comunicates something about U. They imply UR a bit slapdash and so make the reader take the email/you unseriously!!!!
Checking (proof reading) is important. Make sure the information is accurate and well expressed. Abbreviations may be acceptable but make sure they are clearly understood. For instance, does lol mean ‘laugh out loud’ or ‘lots of love’?!
Is it too long? I find when sending out notification about my blog I usually write a short email to introduce it to help the reader decide whether he/she wants to read it. When I then try to put the same text on Twitter it is always too long – and I have found that I can usually shorten what I already thought was short to the 140 characters allowed!
Proof read the email before sending it.
6. Contentious matters
Emails are very dangerous! It can be very tempting to dash off a response to an email that annoys/insults you – but you are likely to live to regret it. Imagine yourself face-to-face with the sender. How would you address the issue that has upset you? Be polite – this applies to all communication. Politeness goes a long way to defusing a tense situation.
It is always best to handle delicate matters face to face if possible, or maybe by phone. That way you can get some immediate feedback through body language or tone of voice. Emails are the worst way to respond. But if you have to do it that way NEVER write it and immediately press ‘send’. Preferably draft it, leave it for 24 hours (or at least overnight) and then re-read it. Whenever I have done this I have never sent the email I originally wrote – I have always softened it or decided not to send it.
Don’t use emails for contentious issues if possible. If it is necessary don’t be hasty – build in a cooling off period.
7. Responding to emails
So far I have assumed you are the initiator. As responder most of the same rules apply. But if the response deals with several points it can be helpful to cut and paste the original email into your reply and put your responses at the end of each section. I usually do this in a different colour.
Alternatively, enumerate the different points according to the original, or start an enumeration if the points were included within text.
Respond to emails containing several topics either by numbering or ‘interlinearly’.
Next time we will look at managing and organising your emails