Return On Investment From Investing In Email Etiquette Training

I was recently asked what Return On Investment (ROI), a client might receive from investing in my Email Etiquette Training.

The quick answer is that I’m confident that my Email Etiquette Training conservatively gives the average professional more than 6 extra days of productivity per year. If participants see me speaking at a conference it may be a bit less – or if they experience me in a customized corporate training environment it may be a bit more.

Depending on the employees’ responsibilities, this result can have a tremendous impact on training ROI; not to mention how it improves their professional relationship, brand reputation and efficiency.

Let me show you how I come to my 6 productive days conclusion.

My Hypothesis: Saving 6 Days, 15 minutes at a time

Studies demonstrate the average business professional spends approximately 90% of their time writing and reading business email. I’ve seen first-hand that learning to write better email well helps participants get more done in less time, and it helps organizations and individuals improve their reputation by:

  • Writing / formatting messages in a professional manner
  • Getting to the point – quickly / learning how to bottom-line messages
  • Getting and giving all the information that is required – when it is needed
  • Not having to send multiple email asking for information that hasn’t been received
  • Not being misunderstood as bossy, rude or hostile
  • No longer clogging up their managers inbox by overusing To… Cc… and Reply All…
  • And more…

I’ve studied how participates in Email Etiquette Training can save between 15 and 30 minutes per day. But, let me be conservative here and say they only save 15 minutes a day (or 1 hour and 15 minutes per week), of extra productivity.

The average American works approximately 1,700 hours per year. Based on an 8-hour workday, that equals 42.5 weeks per year, (when considering vacation, statutory holidays, sick days etc.). Saving 1 hour and 15 minutes per week for 42.5 weeks gives us 53.13 recovered / saved hours per year (3,187.56 minutes). That equals more than 6 additional – more productive days per year… per employee.roi-from-professional-development-training

What If Email Training Saves 20 Minutes Per Day?

If email etiquette training saves 20 minutes per day (an extra 5 minutes), employers will enjoy nearly 9 days of additional productivity per year… per employee… almost 2 free weeks of productive work.

Conclusion: Email Etiquette Training Return On Investment

Email Etiquette Training is a Win for the employee, a Win for the department and a BIG WIN for the organization overall. The additional 1, 2 (or more), weeks of productivity per year has no cost – other than the training. Chances are, any training costs will be recovered within the first week simply in additional productivity and added brand value / reputation.

Happy communicating, mentoring, motivating… and training.

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Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Time Management, Leadership, Generational Differences and More…

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Call us at 416.617.0462.

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Is Communication Bias Holding You Back?

Why is it that when you are speaking with people you know well, (like your partner, your best friend or a co-worker), they often misunderstand part of your message?

You are not alone. Studies show that our understanding often decreases when we share with people we know. The working theory is called ‘communication bias’ and it suggests we often pay less attention when we are speaking to and listening to people we know. When we are:

  • Speaking or writing, we don’t share all the details because we believe the details are obvious to the people we know.
  • Listening or reading, we don’t pay close attention because we believe we know what they mean.

Yup, communication bias is a 2-way street. The impact of communication bias is that even during difficult conversations, errors and assumptions are made by everyone – the senders of the message and the receivers of the message.

The alternative is that when we communicate with people we don’t know, we often pay closer attention. As a result, when we communicate with strangers, we may also show them more empathy and compassion.

Simple Communication Flow

I wrote a blog post a while ago that maps out the encoding and decoding process involved in communication between two or more people. The communication bias theory fits into that process nicely.

Truth is, employee training should include how to successfully communicate between two or more people. Productive workspaces depend on each person recognizing that their knowledge, experiences and expectations will be different and that these differences have the potential to bias communication. To overcome this bias takes effort, patience and understanding.

This Can’t Be True, My Dad Only Needed “The Look”

You may challenge this by pointing out that all your parent ever needed was a certain look, and that from that look you knew instantly if:

  • They were thrilled
  • They were annoyed
  • You should keep up the good work
  • You should run!

I am sure this is true, but it’s not the same. In a highly structured environment where individuals have lots of experience with each other, it is natural that a simple glance might express what is needed. This is especially true in the military where routine and predictable behaviour/needs are critical. But, in a flexible and/or new environment, careful attention to a message is imperative.

Our Expectations Want To Rule Our Business Etiquette

All of this ties into our emotional expectations as well. For example, if you expect me to be an impatient jerk and I close off my email by writing, “If there is anything else you need, let me know.” When you read my email, your assumption will likely confirm that I am a condescending jerk. However, you will hear a very different message if you expect me to be:

  • Kind
  • Helpful
  • Concerned
  • Sympathetic

In each of these cases our emotional expectations impact our business etiquette and our relationships. One short, innocent sentence can have a very different meaning depending on… the listener/reader.

Communication Bias Conclusion

People generally relax their effort and communication skills with people they know well or when they are in familiar situations. The impact is that they are more likely to interpret messages incorrectly… and this can lead to frustration and / or costly mistakes.

The solution is during employee training; help everyone to be aware of the potential of communication bias. It’s important employees recognize behaviours that will unknowingly compromise their business etiquette. Help them be aware of their surroundings and ensure they consider their audiences’ knowledge, experiences, perceptions and expectations.

Happy communicating.

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Digital Etiquette

Digital etiquette are guidelines on how to use the internet to increase engagement, productivity while not annoying people. In other words, how office etiquette can build – not hurt your reputation.

As with face-to-face communication, one of the best things to remember when considering digital etiquette is there is a real person receiving your message. This means they have their own needs, pressures, time constraints and frustrations… just like you. So, communicate with them with patience and thoughtfulness just like you want others to use when they communicate with you.Digital Etiquette

Digital etiquette protects your reputation and by extension is important for your productivity. If people see that you demonstrate respectful and trustworthy behaviours, they will not only want to work with you – they will go out of their way to work with you. Digital etiquette will also increases the chances that people will give you the information you need when you need it and therefore improving your productivity even further.

Here are a few of my favourite digital etiquette / office etiquette best practices

Keep Your Computer Virus Free

You don’t want to be the person / company that sends a client an email with a virus. Even if you are lucky and their system catches it before it does harm, you will have lost personal and professional trust – maybe so badly you may lose the relationship (especially if it did infect their system).

Digital etiquette when it comes to computer viruses is very important because the result can be very costly in many ways.

Use Consistent And Approved Technology

If your office uses PowerPoint for presentations, don’t begin to use another package. You may be more familiar with the another package and perhaps it does have more flexibility… but by using it your co-workers may see you as arrogant. Also, your fantastic presentation may not get seen if your associates and/or clients don’t have the software needed to run it.

If you feel strongly that the company would be better off with different / new technology, follow smart office etiquette by submitting to your executive team asking for approval. That’s how you get a reputation as a visionary not a trouble maker.

Digital Etiquette Means Using The Phone – Not Email

One of the most important business email etiquette best practices is to not use email.

It is often better to use the phone (or walk down the hall), especially if you have complicated things to discuss. Phone calls and face-to-face are also much better ways to build personal relationships.

In urgent situations, phone calls or face-to-face is also better. I recommend sending an email and phoning; this way email is a great back-up because they may see it if they are in a meeting – and therefore can step out of the meeting.

Only Open Email When You’re Ready

Email comes in 7/24 and if you have all of your alerts on it’s very tempting to interrupt what you are doing and look/answer. That is a hugh negative impact on your productivity (and perhaps relationships).

Another email etiquette best practice is to turn off your personal email notifications. My recommendation is to only check email a few times per day (I know – easier said than done). The objective is to plan on spending a few hours each day (especially in the morning), without email or phone notifications so you can focus on your Important Work. It is proven that almost everyone of use is at our strategic / intellectual best in the morning, so, the last thing you want to do is lose that brainpower responding to email.

Confirm Your Objective Before Hitting Send

Especially if you are angry it’s important you reread; anger will come through loud and clear… and you may not want to share your anger with your clients. Doing this is a life-saver when it comes to digital etiquette and your reputation.

Even when you are having a terrific day, take some time and be sure you are meeting the important objectives before you hit send.

BONUS Digital Etiquette Best Practice

We all know that email can be a huge waste of time so I hope that these tips will help you out. Here are a few more quick digital etiquette / business email etiquette best practices.

    • Don’t assume the recipient knows all the details. Remember – the person you are writing to doesn’t have your knowledge or experience; so did you give them enough information… or too much? Tone can be easily misconstrued.
    • Make sure your subject lines are relevant. Conversations about different subjects are more easily tracked when you use a relevant subject line… especially when you get email on different topics from the same person – which us common at work.
    • Use email signatures. A great email signature has your name, title, company name and phone number. Sometimes they include a link to your company’s website, but be careful – some company servers are blocking email that have web links.

Happy communicating using digital etiquette.

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5 Ways Productive Email Dialogue Breaks Down

Productive email dialogue is not complicated if you are mindful of yourself and the people you communicating with.

Have you ever had a face-to-face conversation that seemed to only flow one-way? You just sat there as the other person talked and talked about their job or their family or their vacation… or whatever, never giving you a chance to participate.

When we write email, what we write is almost always about our needs, experiences, ideas. That makes sense of course, but that isn’t dialogue – that is telling, and if you have one simple message to tell (like Thursdays 10:30 Sales meeting agenda attached), and your audience is expecting it, then that works. But, if you need to communicate… email dialogue is more complicated and you have to think about different things.

To have a productive email dialogue, great communicators go beyond their needs to intentionally have a conversation… and this is a lot more difficult than we think. For example, an above average communicator is self-aware, they take the time to confirm their message is understood… and they constantly evaluate the emotional impact of their message (email always have an emotional impact). Writers also acknowledge that no two people are alike, so they consider the communication styles, needs and work environments of the people they email. That’s a lot to consider.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

To help you do all of this, the following are 4 ways productive email dialogue breaks down so that you can avoid them.

Not Engaging The Individual

If someone is not engaged a productive email dialogue is not possible.

This may be because someone may have no interest in the subject. It may also be that their attention may be distracted by something or someone else (speaking with or listening to someone else or if they are reading your email on a smart phone).

If you know this may happen, find ways to make your email relevant to their success. Bottom-lining is one great solution (see below).

Discounting Information

When someone dismisses the information being shared.

This may be because the reader / listener doesn’t value or respect the person or the information being presented. If the reader doesn’t care about your story they are not going to read your email with their full attention.

Make sure you send your email only to the people who need to know… and use Cc: properly. Don’t automatically send to people as a way to escalate your need/request… and bottom-line your message (see below).

Misinterpreting Your Message

This happens often with email because vocal inflection and body language is not experienced.

It can also happen when the writer uses words or jargon that the reader does not know. Most readers (and listeners), will subconsciously guess / assume the intended meaning.

The result is that an email may be interpreted as bossy or the message may be misunderstood completely. This is especially true if the reader is very busy or having a bad day – something the writer likely has no control over but is just one more reason to keep your message simple, polite and considerate of their needs.

Over-detailing Email

Like the name suggests, when someone gives far too much detail his or her audience shuts off and doesn’t read anything. This happens in email, face-to-face, meetings, presentation and all other communication.

This often happens because the writer or speaker is passionate about what they are communicating but are not considering what their audience needs at that moment. Sometimes the short story is the best story.

Technology Etiquette (Tech Etiquette)

Technology etiquette is a growing challenge in business. It is about being mindful of when you should use your technology and when you should leave it alone. It’s important to be aware of how your use of technology impacts you and those around you.

Technology etiquette training focuses on the behaviours you should and should not emulate and the impression you create when you use your smartphone or tablet in the company of others, in meetings and/or when you are with or on the phone with clients. Our training looks at the ‘What’ and the ‘Why.’

Conclusion

The above are 5 email tips you should be aware of when you write and read email. You may be making assumptions that are hurting your ability to be as productive as you can be.

I want to leave you on a positive note, so here is one email tip you should always do.

Know What You Want – Then Design Your Dialogue Backwards

Most often this is called Bottom-lining or Getting To The Point.

Grab your readers’ attention by putting your action item at the top of your email. Follow your action item with your facts and logic as support information. Designing backwards to how we often write email lets your reader know the context of your support information if and when they read it… which make you and your email dialogue more relevant to them.

Happy email communication.

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3 Email Etiquette Techniques Not Often Discussed

Email is the main source of workplace dialogue – even for people sitting next to each other. This means that knowing and using email etiquette and business etiquette rules is important to our professional reputation, organizational reputation, productivity and organizational profitability.

When we communicate by email it’s difficult to build rapport. The result is that often our email sound abrupt, bossy, angry or like we (the writer), don’t care. This is even more valid when we are typing on a smartphone or tablet.

This means your employees soft skills and emotional intelligence (or lack of), may be alienating their audience… and your investment when you hired excellent talent and trained them is being undermined.email étiquette

Learning and practicing email etiquette and business etiquette rules helps employees write email messages that are professional and engaging – even when they have difficult conversations, say ‘No’, or provide bad news.

Three email etiquette techniques that are almost never discussed when people write about best practices are:

1. Spell names correctly. Names are important – they are personal and our identity, individuality is connected to them. So, it’s important to get them right.

The best way for someone to get the impression you don’t have attention to detail is to spell their name incorrectly.

2. Never use Mr, Mrs, Ms until you are sure about the gender of the receiver. If you don’t know – don’t guess. There are a lot of gender-neutral names like Jamie and Chris. Also, as we experience greater cultural diversity, guessing will surely lead to embarrassing and potentially costly errors.

In addition, avoid ever using Dear Sir/Madam. It appears dismissive and like you don’t care (like junk mail). Your receiver will notice and their opinion of you will not be a good one.

3. From country to country, appropriate email and business etiquette can vary widely. In certain countries, email correspondence is expected to be highly formal, much like a written business letter. In other countries (like America), they are often shorter and more to-the-point.

If you are unsure – stay professional, get to the point and add links to any additional information or attachments… then wait and see what comes back. Do you get formal back, or a short to-the-point message or a casual email? Their response will give you insight into how they communicate.

Always remember email is best used as a way of sharing data, charts and directions. It’s not a great place to discuss choices, brainstorm or build rapport.

Conclusion

Business etiquette and soft skills training is a critical part of all professional development training plans.

When you do write email, get to the point quickly and write in full sentences following proper capitalization and grammar rules. Avoid slang and jargon and always be sure to use the spell-check. While it’s difficult to take the time to re-read you message impartially – try whenever you can… especially for important or sensitive messages.

If it’s a new relationship try to have a quick call with them. This will do wonders to establish a long-term, valuable relationship which can then be carried forward via email.

Happy communicating.

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How To Write Follow-up Email Messages?

It’s Tuesday and you’ve been not-so-patiently waiting since Monday for a response you expected last Friday. What do you do?

Follow-up email messages can stop the best of us in our tracks – and perhaps that’s a good thing. When we write follow-up email we often give careful thought to how we sound and what we say. Translation: most of the time we reread our follow-up email before we send them… something we should do to every email draft before we send.

The careful attention we give our follow-up email is justified. The way our email is interpreted can create retaliatory friction long into our future causing passive aggressive – and not so passive aggressive delays or lack of cooperation for days, weeks or years later. Of course not following up isn’t a good option either.

Fortunately there are other options. Here are two common mistakes when writing follow-up email PLUS options for what you could write. Please note: Standard email etiquette greetings and signature lines should be added to these messages.

Example 1.

Not Great: “Based on our agreement I was expecting your feedback on Friday. It’s now Tuesday; can you confirm I’ll have it by mid-day today?” By the way – you CC’d their boss and your boss.

Much Better: “This is a quick follow-up requesting your feedback regarding XYZ project. I was expecting it last Friday; please let me know if I can get it by mid-day today. I will be submitting my findings tomorrow morning and would enjoy your contribution.” By the way – you didn’t CC anyone.pointed email

Example 2.

Not Great: “I’d really appreciate any response to the 2 questions I asked last Thursday. I need them today – otherwise don’t bother.”

Much Better: “I’m following-up to see if I can get your comments today on the 2 questions I asked last Thursday about new fiberglass molding process? I have to submit my findings tomorrow at noon.”

Whenever you write you want to try to avoid sounding abrupt or accusatory. If the person may feel like you are pointing a finger at them… rewrite. The wise old idiom ‘You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar’ holds true here.

Conclusion

Always try to stay upbeat and positive. Let them know your timelines is a gentle way of framing up your urgency. Also, I recommend never saying ‘I know you are busy but…’ In almost every case (I cannot think of one where it doesn’t), it sounds insincere.

Happy communicating.

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Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Business Writing, Email Etiquette, Time Management and Mindfulness.

Bruce Mayhew on Canada AM

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Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Call us at 416.617.0462.

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Email Etiquette When Looking For A Job

Email etiquette when looking for a job is important because it’s very likely much of your job search communication will happen by email – and some by phone. Every point of contact you have puts your professionalism under a microscope, so be careful with your email etiquette and phone etiquette.

Act like every email and phone call is part of a job interview.Job Application Email

How Is Your Email Address?

If your email address looks like drinkingparti101TotalyON@gmail.com it compromises your reputation. Your email address may be the first thing your potential employer notices, so make sure it is professional and promotes respect.

Set up a new gmail email address if you need to (gmail will appear more ‘current’).

Write SMART Email Subject Lines

An Email Subject Line that says: Resume or even Resume of Bruce Mayhew will likely not get a reply unless you are the only applicant.

Your future boss (hopefully), may get 50, 100 or more applications, so… you have to stand out. Your email subject line should identify the job you want and why your resume is important (to them – not you). Integrate keywords into your email subject line… in around 8 words. For Example: Executive Travel Coordinator Application / World Traveler Bruce Mayhew

Say Hello / Salutation (CRITICAL)

Every email – especially email sent to your future boss should have a greeting; otherwise you look abrupt and rude. Use ‘Dear Mr. Mayhew’ or perhaps ‘Thank you for this opportunity Mr. Mayhew’. Even ‘Good morning’ would work (especially if you can’t find their name).

Names are important to people. When someone uses our name we naturally pay attention. If you don’t know their name, check LinkedIn, go online and looked for the company directory and/or call the company and ask the receptionist. There is no better way to get noticed than to value social niceties and relationship building.

Use ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ only as a last resort.

Your Main Message

Get to the point and write full sentences. Start with one or two short sentences about why you are right for the job. If your opening is ‘Please find my attached resume’ you might as well work on your tan instead.

Use punctuation which means start sentences with a Capital and finish them with a period (I recently trained someone who had a hard time with this – and they were not a Millennial), and be sure you check grammar and spelling. Be professional, polite (but not too polite), and grateful for the opportunity (but not too grateful).

When you finish writing, save your draft, go away and return to re-read/edit.

Every email should have a call for action. Usually your call to action would be one of the first things in your email – but for a resume put your call to action second after you’ve let them know why you are special.

Reply To Email In Less Than 24 Hours

A quick email reply is respectful. Lets say they want more documentation but you are on your way to the cottage for 4 days with only your smartphone. Do you hold off before replying? NO! Especially because you are looking for a job, reply to email asap and let them know when you will send the documentation. Better yet, phone them and establish a one-on-one relationship. As soon as they hear your voice, you will have an advantage over everyone else… relationships are just that way.

If you’ll be out of range for a few days use an Out of Office message. Be polite and friendly and remember – your future boss may be receiving the message.

Attachments

Missing attachments are one of the easiest ways to make a really bad impression when using email when looking for a job. Attach your resume before addressing your email so you don’t forget.

Closing & Signature

If you use an automatic signature line (which is a great time management best practice), be sure it is appropriate for your potential future employer. Include your full name, email address and primary phone number. If you write a relevant blog, link to it as well, but be careful because some organizations’ firewalls block email that have links, you may want to check.

After Your Interview

Congratulations, all your attention to detail as you were looking for a job has paid off and you got an interview.

After your interview send a ‘thank you for the interview’ email. Then, as George Armes suggests in his article, send a handwritten note by mail/post… where you use a stamp. Do this quickly; I recommend the same day so be prepared and have everything ready in advance (including the stamp).

Happy communicating and job hunting.

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Bruce Mayhew Consulting

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Bruce Mayhew is founder and President of Bruce Mayhew Consulting a Professional Development firm that excels at quickly and easily tailoring programs to meet the unique needs of our clients and their employees. In addition to being an effective professional development trainer, Bruce is a popular conference speaker, writer and has been featured on major TV, Radio and Newspaper networks ranging from CTV to Global to The Globe & Mail.

Connect with Bruce on Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Managing Difficult Conversations, Mindfulness, Time Management and more.

Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.

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Lets Fix 3 Annoying Email Etiquette Habits

I do lots of email etiquette training and have written extensively about email but there are 3 annoying email etiquette habits that have been on my mind lately.

One came to me as I found myself disagreeing with CBC radio guest contributor Lucy Kellaway of the BBC and Financial Post about email etiquette (I’m sure she’s crushed). The next two were annoying email etiquette habits I noticed others were commenting on in social media.

So – with all of this ‘listening and noticing’ going on, I did what I often do… I write a blog post.

Annoying Email Etiquette Habit 1. Reread Before Sending

If you’re like most people, when we write an email we open a blank screen and start typing. What happens over the next minute or two is that as we type, more information about what we should know and/or ask bubbles to the surface. Email evolution takes place.

When we’re done all the information/questions is likely there, but chances are the logical flow of our email might look like a Family Circus© comic strip. We have to remember that 10 different people can read the same words and depending on their education, experience and objectives they will interpret those words 10 different ways… ESPECIALLY in an email. When we add to the mix that email evolution just happened, we are almost guaranteed to confuse and frustrate our reader, (you know I’m right because you’ve received email like that).

Family Circus ©Bil Keane Inc.

Family Circus ©Bil Keane Inc.

The solution is easy. Write your email in exactly the same way… but PLEASE… take a few seconds and reread before sending. When you do reread, please keep in mind the following 3 things:

  1. Bottom line your email by putting the important information and action item at the top and background / support information after.
  2. Confirm that you wrote with your readers needs and knowledge in mind. If you don’t, they will likely have to make assumptions – and that’s the beginning of a whole list of mistakes waiting to happen.
  3. Is there any information that is not longer needed and/or a sentence you can shorten? The less time they need to read the more likely your message will be read and acted on. 

Annoying Email Etiquette Habit 2. Close The Loop

If I sent you a file you requested, how do I know you received it if you don’t reply? A simple ‘Thanks’ does the trick. You can even save the 2 seconds it would take to type the reply by creating a partially completed email template (see the template I’ve included in this post as an example).

Bruce Mayhew Consulting Email Etiquette

Bruce Mayhew Consulting Email Etiquette

Besides being polite and respectful, sending a thank you reduces risk by closing the loop on our ‘transaction,’ otherwise, I might be (rightly), worried and spend even more time following up with you to make sure my email:

  • Didn’t go into your junk folder
  • Wasn’t mistakenly overlooked because you receive over 150 email each day (like most business people)

Annoying Email Etiquette Habit 3. Use A Signature Block

Always use a signature block which includes a phone number your reader can use to get hold of you. You don’t need to include your private number, but everyone should be able to leave you a verbal message (at least).

I was listening to CBC radio 1 a few weeks ago and Lucy Kellaway was on saying the exact opposite; the last thing she wants to share in an email is her phone number. If you are a public figure that makes sense… but for the average business email that you are purposefully engaged in, phone numbers are important.

Email is a terrible brainstorming tool and as mentioned above, details can easily be misinterpreted or overlooked. There are many times when your reader will realize a 2 minute conversation or voice mail can replace days of back and forth email, frustration and misunderstandings.

Note: If you use an email management system like Outlook, you’ll need to activate a send AND reply email signature block, (many people only activate their send).

Every time you send an email you are advertising your personal and professional brand. What message do you want to send?

Happy communicating and email etiquette.

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Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Managing Difficult Conversations, Mindfulness and more. Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We listen.

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Why Emotion Is Often Misunderstood In Email And Text Messages

When we read email and text messages all day we are bound to misunderstand something. Knowing that misunderstandings are likely to happen and why are the best ways to prevent them in the first place.

4 Reasons Why Emotion Is Often Misunderstood In Email And Text Messages:

  • Email and text messages are usually really short with not enough information, (so the reader is confused), or too long with too much information, (so the reader begins to skim).
  • Email and text messages remove soft-stimuli/signals we get information from in face-to-face or telephone communication… like vocal inflection, vocal tempo, smiles/frowns and hand gestures.
  • When we read we almost always see things first through our own feelings, needs and experiences. Then, if email empathy is one of our strong-suits, we make a leap of faith (which usually happens without even knowing we are doing it), to guess (using our own bias), what the other is feeling, needing and experiencing.
  • When we write, we often see things only though our feelings, needs and experiences, we rarely stop to consider things that are critical for our readers, things like:Essential Email Etiquette And Text Message Habits
    • How busy are our readers
    • What is the really important information they need
    • Are they reading on a computer or tiny smart phone/tablet
    • What do they know about me and/or my situation
    • What do they know about the language I am using (jargon)

What To Do To Make Sure Emotion Is Not Misunderstood

To make sure emotion is not misunderstood in our email and text message, when we write we should be sure to:

  • Think of our readers needs and experience
  • In most cases, avoid jargon and abbreviations (especially in business communication)
  • Get to the need and action item quickly
  • Manage our readers expectations
  • Avoid trying to insert humour or sarcasm
  • Reread before we hit send

Conclusion For Our Email And Text Messages:

Every email and text message we send impacts our professional and personal brand – it builds trust with the people we send them to… or tears trust down.

Since up to 90% of most business communication is by email (and some text), it’s critical to our brand – and our productivity that we make sure emotion is not misunderstood in your email and text messages.

Happy communication and writing. 

Click here to join our priority list of people who receive our latest Business Communication blog posts. If you enjoyed this post we think you’ll like:

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Managing Difficult Conversations, Multigenerational Training, Time Management and Mindfulness.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.

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Email Etiquette Examples: Effective Communication Fail & Pass

With an ever-increasing importance on brand reputation and workplace efficiency, email etiquette and email writing style is continuing to be a business priority. So, lets take a look at an email etiquette example to see one way we can improve.

To set this up properly, I want to share with you that during my email etiquette training workshops one of the most common challenges I hear from participants is, “I’m just too busy.” So… I ask them how much time they spend following up to get answers they asked? That’s usually when I get the big eye-roll and exasperated sigh… and the comment that goes something like… “All the time – people just don’t pay attention anymore.”

Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 5.59.13 PM

Let’s do some quick math. If a person has to follow-up on 20% of the email they send and they spend only 2 hours/day on email. In 1 week (5 days), they would spend an additional 1 hour and 30 minutes at work writing even more follow-up email.

To these people, I say, “I can give you back almost all of that 1 hour and 30 minutes… so you can get home to your family and friends – or ball game or….” And at the same time I can also improve your reputation with your customers, your suppliers and your boss.

Email Etiquette Example: Fail

All of us have received an email that looks like this. I call this an email brick.

John,

This is a follow-up email regarding the international payment processing project proposal. We are still expecting to meet the development schedule of 12 months. Are we on schedule? Marie and I had a very productive meeting and she recommended I connect with you regarding the literature status. Please insure I have all background information and send me a detailed update of key milestones. Was the issue we connected with last month fully resolved? I assume it was. I’ll need to know by next Tuesday about the key milestones update.

Pat.

What are the chances the writer will get the information they want? Very little because their needs are scattered throughout the message – and there’s a lot of unimportant even confusing information. Confusion almost always leads to follow-up email, increased tension and a wasted time at work.

Email Etiquette Example: Pass

But what if the writer took a moment to clearly ask for what they really needed.

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What if they wrote an email that looks like this?

Hi John,

I’m following-up regarding the international payment processing project proposal. Marie Laplander recommended I connect with you regarding the literature status.

For each milestone I’ll need the following 4 things:

  • Milestone start date
  • Whose responsible
  • % Completed to date
  • Expected completion date

I am presenting to the board next Wednesday so please send me the milestone update by Tuesday. We are still expecting to meet the original development schedule of 12 months.

I really appreciate your help John. Please call me with any questions at 416 555 1111.

Pat

The Summary of Both Email

Believe it or not, the revised email example has 1 fewer words. In addition, the revised email:

  • Is much easier to understand
  • Specifically lists the 4 deliverables Pat requires (no guesswork by John)
  • Has a greeting and salutation (helps with tone)
  • Calls John by name – twice (helps with tone)
  • Respects and appreciates John (basically says thank you and builds rapport)
  • Offers a helpful ‘please call with questions’  message
  • Doesn’t confuse the message by including a request from last month

It’s also almost 100% guaranteed that Pat will get the information they need from John– when they need it… without need for follow-up email, AND John will feel appreciated working on this for Pat.

Email Etiquette Conclusion

Lets stop sending email bricks. We owe it to ourselves and our reputation and our families to take the time to save time. 

The idea that ‘I don’t have time’ to write a clear, polite, professional email is an epidemic we can cure. 

Happy email etiquette and time management training

Click here to join our priority list of people who receive our latest Business Communication blog posts. If you enjoyed this post we think you’ll like:

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Managing Difficult Conversations, Multigenerational Training, Time Management and Mindfulness.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.

Bruce Mayhew on Canada AM

Click on the image to watch us on Canada AM.

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

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