Great e-mail suggestions to help you, and your colleagues, be more productive from David Grossman of The Grossman Group and author of You Can’t Not Communicate and the new ebook, The Definitive Guide to Taming the Email Monster
I’ve heard David speak and found him to be a great resource for all things related to internal communications and employee engagement.
David’s tips with my thoughts added:
In the spirit of using email better, and helping others use email better, below are tips anyone can implement to avoid the abuses and fix bad habits.
- Keep your message simple and clear—Edit unnecessary words to focus your recipient on what’s most important. Short sentences and bullet points make your message easier to read on a computer screen, and a smart phone. It is estimated that more than 40% of email is now viewed on a smart phone.
- Answer all questions, be proactive—Avoid wasted time with back and forth emails. Answer all questions posed to you, and proactively answer your recipients’ likely next questions.
- Respond quickly—Email is built for speed. Respond within 24 hours; if it will take longer to respond, let the sender know you received his or her email and are working on it. You will build trust among your friends and business associates and will amaze your clients and prospects.
- Use polite greetings and closings—Please and thank you go a long way in conveying a positive tone.
- Use proper spelling, grammar and punctuation—Be professional and show you care. Always use spell check and proofread your emails.
- Do not use all caps—Did you mistake the meaning of that statement because I didn’t put NOT in all caps? No? Neither will your recipient.
- Don’t use special formatting, backgrounds, colored text or emoticons—Many feel they’re unprofessional.
- Double check for correct email addresses and attachments—Avoid being embarrassed or disseminating proprietary information.
- Be clear in the subject line—Avoid having your emails ignored by briefly explaining the content of your message.
- Never send an email when you’re upset—Take a step away from your computer and consider how to best resolve an issue.
- Don’t hide behind email—It feels so easy to avoid difficult conversations by sending an email, but research shows that conflict escalates quicker and lasts longer over email.
- Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone—Email is not always the right vehicle. You should never give bad news over email. Complex information is best addressed in a face-to-face conversation; nuance is often missed over email.
- Use the CC field as an FYI—The CC field says this is an FYI and you are not expected to take action. CC your manager when you want him or her to know you’ve taken an action.
- Use the BCC field for large groups of recipients—Don’t advertise people’s email address.
- Use “Reply All” only when appropriate—Use sparingly. If everyone on the chain doesn’t need to see your response why fill up their inbox?
- Take care when sending large files—Check with your recipient in advance to see how they would like to receive the file.
- Avoid sarcasm or tongue-in-cheek humor—Email doesn’t convey the meaning behind these types of statements.
Which of these email tips could make a significant difference for you and those you email?