Newsletter July 06
Business etiquette: emailing
Business has ‘rules’ which govern behaviour. If we know the rules and choose to play by them, we can increase our effectiveness in the world of work and business.
The first thing to remember is that you are dealing with … people! A good rule of thumb is to behave with the same level of respect as you would if you were face to face with them.
Aim to look good online. How is your spelling, punctuation, grammar? These and the layout of your email, send a message along with the words. Are you happy with the ‘look’ your email gives?
Add a clear signature including all your contact details. There have been a number of times when I have wanted to phone someone up but their email didn’t have a phone number. It may lose you business.
If your reply doesn’t include the original message, please include something that will jog the person’s memory. Unfortunately the average person suffers from email overload and a disembodied message along the lines of “Yes, that would be fine” several days after the original message, following on the heels of 350 intervening messages, may not have much meaning.
Be wary of putting contentious or personal information in an email. It could be forwarded. To anyone. Or lots of anyones. Best to speak to the person instead.
Check email regularly. It’s generally accepted to be a fairly quick method of communication, so if you can’t reply in full or within a short time span, leave an ‘out of office’ message or at least acknowledge their email.
Be aware that in communication a sizeable part of the message is conveyed by visual and vocal clues. These are missing in email, and all we have to play with is the words. Recipients have about a 50% chance of working out the tone of your email, though they think they have correctly interpreted it 90% of the time. Read your email through before you send it – could it be misconstrued?
When typing an email, we write from our current emotional state, while recipients read it from their emotional state. This may cause problems if you’re not careful!
And finally, ask yourself – is email the best way to communicate my message? Perhaps a face-to-face meeting, or a phone call, or even talking (yes, talking) to the colleague sitting at the desk next to you, could achieve much more.
Copyright Successful Speaking 2006