Effective communication via email


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-DOs and DON’Ts related to communication via emails;
-Top tips for effective email communication;
-Email etiquette and why it is important;
-Importance of timing;
-Lessons learned and best practices applicable to our projects
… and other interesting and useful material which will help you to write better emails.

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Effective communication via email

  1. 1. Effective communication via email<br />Tech Talk #4<br />September 28, 2011<br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, <br />Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  2. 2. You will learn:<br />DOsand DON’Ts related to communication via emails;<br />Top tips for effective email communication;<br />Email etiquette and why it is important;<br />Importance of timing;<br />Lessons learned and best practices applicable to our projects<br />… and other interesting and useful material which will help you to write better emails. <br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  3. 3. What is communication?<br />Communication is the activity of conveying meaningful information. Communication requires a sender, a message, and an intended recipient, although the receiver need not be present or aware of the sender's intent to communicate at the time of communication; thus communication can occur across vast distances in time and space. Communication requires that the communicating parties share an area of communicative commonality. The communication process is complete once the receiver has understood the message of the sender (from Wikipedia).<br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  4. 4. Oral and Written Communication. Pros.<br />Oral communication<br />Real time - the message Is conveyed immediately to the receiver<br />Immediate feedback<br />Non-verbal communication like body language and voice tonality plays a significant role<br />Saves time<br />Less formal method as compared to written and adds a personal touch to your message<br />Written communication<br />Concrete form of documentary evidence <br />Can be used for future reference purposes<br />Can be easily distributed to many people thus making it a bulk communication method, the accuracy of the information conveyed is same across the entire audience<br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  5. 5. Oral and Written Communication. Cons.<br />Oral communication<br />No written evidence<br />Harder to use for future references<br />Can’t be easily distributed to many people<br />This form of communication can be misinterpreted or misunderstood very easily<br />Communicating effectively through oral forms require high skills<br />Written communication<br />No immediate feedback<br />Lack of feedback<br />Absence of non-verbal communicationto convey message effectively<br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  6. 6. Email communication. Advantages<br />Fast and cheap <br />Ideal way to reach persons who are difficult to get on the phone <br />You can compose and review your message before sending <br />Ideal for international communications (expense, problems reaching colleagues, differences in time zones) <br />You can easily include all or part of previous messages, or the message you are responding to, including point by point responses to questions, etc. <br />Ability to send same message to predefined groups of people <br />Ability to include attached files, documents, pictures, datasets <br />Messages easily achievable and storable in a database; search by sender, date, subject, or put into separate mailboxes <br />Ability to paste from other applications directly into email document (e.g., a review of a paper found on a website) <br />.. And many others.<br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  7. 7. How to write effective emails?<br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  8. 8. Before you even start typing<br />What is the goal of you email?<br />Who is your target audience?<br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  9. 9. Subject Line<br />Should convey the essence of email<br />Brief and to the point<br />Urgency of the message must be indicated in the subject line<br />Be diplomatic, be assertive<br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  10. 10. Good or Bad?<br /><Empty><br />Hi<br />Reminder<br />Status Report<br />Some questions<br />Candidate CV<br />Meeting Minutes<br />Summary<br />Approval Request: PHP Training <br />Draft: Email to Microsoft<br />Reminder: End of Probationary Period, Oct 1, Ivanov<br />CV_Ruby_Ivanov<br />Meeting Minutes. DO Product Backlog. Oct 1<br />Summary. Grammar Blogs Research<br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  11. 11. Email Structure<br />A usual business letter consists <br />of four main blocks: <br />Salutation<br />Main Part<br />Close<br />Signature (stating an addresser’s name and title)<br />Thus, it is essential to consider every point as thoroughly as possible in order to avoid probable misunderstandings with Clients and uphold the Company’s reputation at a proper level.<br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  12. 12. Salutation<br />In case you don’t know an addressee’s name: <br />Dear (Title/Last Name), Dear Sales Manager, Dear Sir, Dear Madam,<br />If you address an individual you don’t know or an organization (although it is too formal and rarely used):<br />Dear Sir or Madam, Dear Sirs, (British variant), Ladies and Gentlemen, (American).<br />If you know an addressee and have formal relations: <br />Dear Ms. Johnson,<br />If you know a person well enough and have informal relations with him or her, “Dear” may be skipped. This case is applicable to both external and internal correspondence.<br />Dear Frank, John.<br />For long-lasting correspondence with an addressee or for internal e-mails you may use<br />Hi Frank, Hello Bob (Note: “Hi” should be used with the name of an addressee)<br />If a letter is intended for a number of addressees within the Company:<br />Hi everyone, Greetings!<br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  13. 13. Main Part<br />Main Part consists of 3 parts:<br />Opening phrases.<br />Body.<br />Closing phrases.<br />There are some formal phrases that are commonly used in business letters. Using them will help you put the reader into the appropriate mood, give him or her a glimpse of information you are going to speak about, thus making your communicative task more effective and easier.<br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  14. 14. Main Part - Opening<br />Let the recipient know the goal of your email<br />Write Your First Email Line Like a Tweet to Grab Interest <br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  15. 15. Opening Phrases (formal)<br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  16. 16. Opening Phrases (less formal)<br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  17. 17. Body<br />Relate content to the reader<br />Limit your message to one subject<br />Keep to a 15 line message (about half a computer screen) if you can<br />Good idea to use bullets<br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  18. 18. Body<br />How to email someone for the first time:<br />Don't assume that they know you, or care to know you<br />Write a one-line introduction setting the context, introducing yourself, and explaining your role<br />How to structure an email requesting a decision:<br />State the topic briefly<br />Explain the issue<br />State pros/cons<br />Give a recommendation with rationale<br />Provide guidance on when you need the answer<br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  19. 19. Body - Call to action<br />The call to action is the<br />Instructions or information we want the reader to take away from the message. <br />Or<br />The Actions that need to be taken<br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  20. 20. Answer all questions, and pre-empt further questions<br />If you do not answer all the questions in the original email, you will receive further e-mails regarding the unanswered questions, which will not only waste your time and your customer’s time but also cause considerable frustration.<br />Moreover, if you are able to pre-empt relevant questions, your customer will be grateful and impressed with your efficient and thoughtful customer service. <br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  21. 21. Fonts in the email<br />True or False?<br />I do creative work for a creative company, so a good place to express my creativity is in the font I choose for my emails<br /><ul><li>False</li></ul>Use Arial 10 Point for body text<br /><ul><li>Not Verdana, Trebuchet, and especially not Comic Sans</li></ul>Don’t emphasize too much<br /><ul><li>Please, no more BOLD ITALIC UNDERLINE ALL CAPS
  22. 22. If you want to emphasize, do it sparingly with bold</li></ul>Don’t write emails in ALL CAPS<br />IT MAKES IT SOUND LIKE YOU’RE YELLING<br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  23. 23. Be careful with formatting<br />Remember that when you use formatting in your emails, the sender might not be able to view formatting, or might see different fonts than you had intended.<br />When using colors, use a color that is easy to read on the background.<br />Use [Answer] instead of colors when commenting email thread<br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  24. 24. Date and Number Formats<br />It is well known that currently dates (according to the Gregorian calendar) are expressed in several different ways in various countries.<br />The order in which the year, month and day are given:<br />The Europeans write day/month/year (e.g. 23/9/2006), while the U.S. Clients write month/day/year (e.g. 9/23/2006)<br />Universal date format (that can be applied in any case) is the following:<br />MMM DD, YYY (e.g. November 15, 1999 or April 05, 2000)<br />Number format:<br />American and English customers separate thousands with a comma and fraction numbers with a dot (3,220 means three thousand two hundred and twenty; 3.5 means three and five tenths).<br />Europeans use the European format (e.g. 12 345,98)<br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  25. 25. Closing phrases <br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  26. 26. Use but Do not overuse the high priority option<br />If you overuse the high priority option, it will lose its function when you really need it.<br />We all know the story of the boy who cried wolf.<br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  27. 27. Don't leave out the message thread<br />When you reply to an email, you must include the original mail in your reply, in other words click 'Reply', instead of 'New Mail'.<br />It’s not possible for anyone to remember all his/her previous mails<br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  28. 28. Attachments<br />Make sure to create an attachment if you are mentioning the same in your mail<br />Check with the receiver <br />if he/she would like to receive the attachment<br />whether they have software to open attachment<br />Do not attach very heavy attachments, provide URL instead<br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  29. 29. <ul><li>Checklist
  30. 30. Goal of the email
  31. 31. Informative Subject
  32. 32. Recipients
  33. 33. Opening
  34. 34. Email length
  35. 35. Call to action
  36. 36. Signature
  37. 37. Appropriate formatting
  38. 38. Spell and Grammar Checking
  39. 39. Goal of the email !</li></ul>Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  40. 40. Read your own email before sending<br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  41. 41. Email etiquette<br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  42. 42. Email Etiquette<br />Be Polite<br />Take the time to include a friendly greeting;<br />Use please and thank you;<br />Civility makes a difference in how your message is received. <br />Don't hesitate to say thank you, how are you, or appreciate your help.<br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  43. 43. Email Etiquette<br />Address your contact with the appropriate level of formality and make sure you spelled their name correctly;<br />Multiple instances of !!! or ??? are perceived as rude or condescending;<br />If your email is emotionally charged, walk away from the computer and wait to reply. Review the Sender's email again so that you are sure you are not reading anything into the email that simply isn't there.<br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  44. 44. Email etiquette<br />You are a member of various office and department mailing lists. It’s okay to email these lists with a question, but…<br />Choose the correct list <br />Send to specific offices or departments rather than spamming the entire company<br />Specify if you want the replies to go to you or the whole list<br />Don’t say anything in an email you wouldn’t say face-to-face or on the phone;<br />Don’t overlook the fact that your email could be forwarded on.<br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  45. 45. Email etiquette<br />Include addresses in the Cc: field for those who you are just FYI'ing;<br />Never expose your contact's email address to strangers by listing them all in the To: field. Use BCc. This is a serious privacy issue!<br />Emails are forwarded to others. Keep this in mind when typing about emotional or controversial topics.<br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  46. 46. Email etiquette<br />Formality is in place as a courtesy and reflects respect. Assume the highest level of formality with new email contacts until the relationship dictates otherwise. Refrain from getting too informal too soon in your email communications.<br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  47. 47. Email etiquette<br />Never send anyone an email they need to unsubscribe from when they didn't subscribe in the first place!<br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  48. 48. Business Rules<br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  49. 49. Timing<br />Each e-mail should be replied within at least 24 hours, and preferably within the same working day;<br />If you cannot respond to an email promptly, at the very least email back confirming your receipt and when the sender can expect your response.<br />Consider time zone;<br />Answer simple and <br />“quick response” emails first.<br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  50. 50. Learn to write “Ok” emails<br />Describe Pros and Cons<br />Propose several solutions if applicable<br />Provide your judgment and set the best solution from you perspective<br />Let client just reply to you with “Ok”<br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  51. 51. Process your email effectively<br />Check your incoming email;<br />Prioritize emails;<br />Mark and flag those you need to follow-up;<br />Do not leave the office with un-replied emails;<br />Before getting upset because you perceive someone didn't respond, check to see if their reply was inadvertently deleted or sent to your Trash or Junk folder.<br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  52. 52. Emails review<br />Approve emails to clients with you manager before sending;<br />Take the time to review each email before clicking Send to ensure your message is clear and you are relaying the tone that you desire;<br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  53. 53. Get the feedback<br />If you send email draft for approve/some report/etc. to client/colleague, do not leave the office before you discuss the result with him or check with client/colleague if he has time to discuss it today or you can leave and you will discuss next business day!<br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  54. 54. Sometimes a phone call is better<br />If you have many points or a very complex point to discuss, it may be quicker to simply pick up the phone and speak to the person<br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  55. 55. Task<br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />
  56. 56. Thank you!<br />Dev-Pro.net, www.dev-pro.net, Twitter: @DevProNet<br />