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August 4, 2011

Email Tips to Keep Communication Professional, Part 1

Filed under: Communication10:45 am

The culture of business communication has evolved over the years into an expectation of instant response.  According to the latest survey conducted by The Radicati Group, Inc., the average corporate user sends and receives 105 emails per day.  Recently, I committed a faux pas in email etiquette.  Luckily, it was a personal communication and not business-related, and the fall-out was more inconvenience for me than anything.  Many others have not been as fortunate.

Here are some tips to ensure your communications are professional and well-received:

1.            When you receive an email that invokes an emotional response from you, take a minute (or five) to walk away from your computer. Reread the email to be sure you understand the sender’s intention before you fire off a reply that you could regret later.  You may also want to have a colleague read the email before sending.

2.            Be sure the Subject line accurately reflects the content of your email. Don’t hesitate to change the Subject line in your reply or when forwarding to others who may need the information.

3.            Take care to check your formatting. Typing in all caps is perceived as yelling at your recipients. Use emoticons very sparingly – if at all – to keep the intent and tone clear. Use proper case and spelling and avoid grammatical errors – not taking care to do so can give an impression of laziness or a lack of education.

4.            When sending attachments, consider your recipients. If the attachment is large, compress (or zip) the file first. Spread multiple attachments over several emails to reduce download time. Check to be sure your recipient has the same software as the format of the attachment – they may not be able to open it otherwise. Whenever possible, consider using PDF.

5.            The “Reply All” button can be very useful when you need to respond to a question, but want to include a group in your response. You wouldn’t whisper a response to a question during a staff meeting, but would share the answer with everyone. However, take care to be sure you are not inadvertently sharing too much.

This ad, shown during the Super Bowl for Bridgestone tires, was inspired by an actual debacle at the advertising agency.

These are just a few tips…more tips will follow.


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