As simple as it may seem for some, writing emails can be a bit of a daunting task for others. For both expert and novice in matters of sending emails, here are a few tips on how to improve email communications…
1. Include any attachments to your email first
It is remarkable how many times, even the most expert email users, forget to attach a file to the email after referring to it in the email.
2. Add recipient of your email last
This will prevent you from accidentally sending the email too soon or to the wrong person.
3. Be succinct
While there is no particular rules on how long emails should be usually three or five sentences would suffice in most cases to quickly convey a message without wasting the recipient’s time. I am sure many of you have been in a position in which you have not fully read an email from a supplier or client only to regret it in a later conversation! Likewise, and despite trends, avoid unnecessary graphics or signatures that include anything but the basics (ie: name, telephone, address website…). Any fancy graphics attached to the email will continue to accumulate in your emails as you reply and forward making it quite difficult to distinguish at time a proper attachment from an embedded logo or graphic. Also remember… not everybody uses Microsoft products and your fancy signature in Outlook could look a real mess in Mail, Eudora or Mozilla Thunderbird to mention a couple of email client software.
4. Use bullet points for questions or similar.
This makes them stand out, it makes them easier for the recipient to address directly, and it prevents open-ended questions on your end.
5. Bold statements that the recipient must read.
It is not just for headings, key messages should be highlighted to enhance the communications process
6. Be respectful.
Begin formal, and relax once the nature of your relationship has been established. Emoticons have no place in professional correspondence. Certain jokes or expressions can be complemented by our face expression or body posture to change their meaning. In a written message the most innocent of jokes could appear as a rude gesture…
7. Proof and edit.
This is the step everyone forgets and why adding the recipient last is advisable. A simple once-over will catch the most glaring errors.
8. Avoid single-word subjects
With hundred of spam emails coming to our email boxes these days, the importance of a succinct but self explanatory subject is of the essence. Many of us would accidentally delete and email subject such as ‘Approved Delivery’ as opposed to ‘Delivery for Amazon Order No.1111 is Approved’ for example. I personally tend to write the subject after the body of my email to ensure I know exactly what the email is about.
9. Be patient waiting for replies
Unless it’s genuinely urgent, wait at least 24-hours before hitting re-send on your initial email. Use a short message such as ‘just checking to make sure you got this’ when you re-send so that it rises to the top of your recipient’s inbox. If it is not urgent, or it isa blind query, waiting around a week would be appropriate. Two to three emails without response is a good time to either give up on the correspondence. All this advice applies to when you’re the recipient as well, try to acknowledge your emails within 24hours of being received, even it is only to say you will be dealing with it soon.
10. Multiple recipients
CC people who need to read this, but do not need to respond themselves. Please note all people in the CC box will see each others email. Use BCC when you have to email a large number of people and rather not disclose all their email addresses among themselves.