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Communication in any form, needs to be clear and simple to be effective. Nothing can beat a
face-to-face meeting, especially when matters that are important or sensitive need to be
discussed. Second would be a telephonic conversation, and last, but definitely not the least
important, is email, which is the most popular method of business communication. Keeping the
following few pointers in mind will help us to use this tool to our advantage, to create a
favorable image of ourselves and effectively express our opinions.

1) Keep it short and to the point. Don't force people to read long-winded mails when you can
tell them what you want to say in a few short sentences. Respect their time.

2) Ensure the mail has a subject, and a clear and succinct one at that. Mails with lengthy
subject lines fail to catch a reader's attention the way short, crisp ones do.

3) Don't misuse the 'High Priority' option. Every mail that you send out doesn't need to be read
or auctioned immediately, and to ensure that the recipient accords importance to the ones that
really do need urgent attention, use this option sparingly.

4) Use a salutation, write clearly formatted paragraphs, and do a spell-check before hitting the
'Send' button. People may form an opinion of you based on how you communicate through
your emails. Therefore, it is important that you do not give them the impression that you are a
sloppy, careless or disrespectful person.

5) Use capital letters only to express URGENCY, as capital letters are the equivalent of
screaming. Also, do not use emoticons or casual abbreviations, like BTW and LOL, at all. They
have no place in business communication.

6) Use the 'Reply to All' button only when it is necessary for all recipients to know about the
interchange, especially if you anticipate that there will be a lot of back-and-forth on the
subject, in which case, perhaps it would be more prudent to pick up the phone and discuss a
suitable resolution instead.

7) Using your office email to forward racy jokes or pictures is an absolute no-no, as these can
be traced back to you, and disciplinary action initiated against you. Also, confidential matters
should not be shared over email, as, if left unattended, could be forwarded or printed- a
blatant violation of privacy.

8) In case you would like the recipient of your mail to take some action on it, state so clearly,
and mention the actionable points in bullet or numbered points. In case your email is only
serving the purpose of keeping them informed, you could simply mark it as 'FYI', as
sometimes; the recipient may be confused about why the mail has been sent to him.
9) While replying to or forwarding a mail, do not include bulky attachments or files unless they
are absolutely necessary, since a recipient will almost always go through them assuming them
to be relevant. Attachments and lengthy disclaimers just clog up the inbox and waste your
recipient's time.

10) You may have heard the advice of never making a call when you're angry. The same
applies to email as well. Situations may arise that make you angry or upset, but you should
give yourself some time to cool off before you shoot off an angrily-worded mail. You will only
regret it later, or be too embarrassed to face the person you sent it to. But the damage would
already have been done by then.

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