Is The Language You Use Labour-intensive. 4 Quick Email Tips.
December 18, 2012 1 Comment
You may see the language you use when you write business email as a labour of love or one of the unfortunate parts of your job; either way, every email you write has long-lasting impact on your personal and professional success.
The following are 4 communication tips and guidelines on email etiquette.
- Keep the language you use simple. Getting through your message should not be like walking through a labyrinth. For example, use ‘send‘ instead of ‘disseminate‘. Doing this will make your email easier (and faster), to read.
- Your priorities are not your readers’ priorities. Your readers have their own job objectives, deadlines, bosses and private lives weighing on their time and attention.
Get to the point quickly and tell the reader what’s in it for them.
- If you receive a message that has been sent to two or more people, be sure you need to reply… before you reply. If you don’t need to reply – don’t. The challenge is that many writers put everyone into the To… field (which means To Do) in error.
It may be that you should have been in the CC… field (which means FYI only).
- If the message is sent to many people and you need to reply, ask yourself if all of the original recipients need to receive your reply. If they don’t need your reply – remove them from the To… or Cc… field.
It’s the senders reputation that gets hurt if they over-address email – it’s your reputation that gets hurt if you hit Reply All and should not have.
In addition to the 4 communication tips above, be sensitive to your audiences schedules. I still try to give someone 24 hours to reply to my email (even if I would like it sooner).
If you really need an urgent response my best practice is to still send an email and within it let them know:
- The matter is urgent (for you)
- You are hoping they can spare X minutes
- You will walk down the hall, pick up the phone or video call them in 5 minutes to clarify the issue (do this especially if it’s a complex problem – don’t spend an hour typing up an email to a complex issue – you need the flexibility of a discussion and then use email to outline the solution that came out of your meeting / call.
I hope these guidelines on email etiquette help. The language you use may be a labour of love or be challenging… either way your business communication – and in this case your business email writing will have long-lasting impact to your personal and professional success.
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