Email Etiquette Workshop


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This is a two+ hour workshop I offer to employees.

Email Etiquette Workshop

  1. 1. Email Etiquette Becoming fluent in today’s preferred form of business communication
  2. 2. According to ‘Hitch’ <ul><li>Our verbal communication is </li></ul><ul><ul><li>60% human non-verbal cues (body language, facial expression) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>30% tone of voice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>10% what is actually said! </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Electronic Mail <ul><li>It’s the writer’s responsibility to send a clear message </li></ul><ul><li>Permanent form of communication. </li></ul><ul><li>Easily shared. </li></ul><ul><li>Email can make or break a career. </li></ul><ul><li>Email sent from your company’s computer is the property of your company. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Costs <ul><li>Poorly written emails cost on average $45,000 annually </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Extended time to interpret the meaning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Printing costs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Does NOT include the cost of missed deadlines, offended clients and duplicated effort </li></ul></ul>* 1,000 employees receiving 3-4 bad emails/day From http://www. millennialliving .com Ouch!
  5. 5. Our Goal(s) as Communicators <ul><li>People receive the message we mean to send </li></ul><ul><li>We look good </li></ul><ul><li>Our company looks good </li></ul><ul><li>People feel good about us and choose to spend money/resources with us </li></ul>
  6. 6. People receive the message... This email is to inform you that the recording (s) you requested for the telephone conference titled: Mercon CSA Webinar Call hosted by Andy 01/06/08 at 21:10 a.m . have been recorded for you and were shipped on or before 01/17/08 at 7:00 p.m .
  7. 7. Message Received
  8. 8. Message Received <ul><li>They shipped my stuff? </li></ul><ul><li>They know what I ordered. </li></ul><ul><li>They finished high school? </li></ul><ul><li>Do they want my business again? </li></ul><ul><li>They care about me? </li></ul><ul><li>My immediate thought upon receiving this email? </li></ul>
  9. 9. Compare Dear Susan: Thank you for shopping at Wine Country Gift Baskets. Below is the status of each item in your order. You will receive additional emails updating you of the status of you order until all items are shipped.
  10. 10. Message Received <ul><li>Wine Country Gift Baskets knows how to treat me. </li></ul><ul><li>Wine Country Gift Baskets values my business. </li></ul><ul><li>My immediate thought upon receiving this email? </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Solve a problem </li></ul><ul><li>Provide information </li></ul><ul><li>Request information </li></ul><ul><li>Build a relationship </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Build Trust - that you’re thinking of their best interests </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Build Confidence - in your abilities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Build Comfort - they feel comfortable with you </li></ul></ul>What are your objectives?
  12. 12. Use a Positive Approach <ul><li>Tell the reader what you can do, not what you can’t . </li></ul><ul><li>Assume ‘yes’ in every statement: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call.” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>If a negative word (difficulty, problem, impossible) is used, offer a solution. </li></ul><ul><li>But is the ultimate shrouded negative - it negates everything that comes before it in a sentence. </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>What are her objectives and needs? </li></ul><ul><li>Will she know my jargon? </li></ul><ul><li>Will he prefer a casual or professional tone? </li></ul><ul><li>Is he likely to share my communication with others? </li></ul>Who is your Reader?
  14. 14. Courtesy and Consideration <ul><li>What does your reader already know? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is your reader familiar with your industry’s abbreviations and acronyms? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What information might be redundant (and potentially insulting) to include? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What does he need to know? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Are there unasked questions she may need answered? </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>What does he NOT need to know? </li></ul><ul><li>What are your reader’s goals? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tailor your message to reflect that you know what he needs or wants. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Is the reader interested in details, or just the bottom line? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tailor your message to meet the reader’s expectations and comfort level. </li></ul></ul>Courtesy and Consideration
  16. 16. It’s not so common anymore <ul><li>Courtesy is only used by those who understand it’s value. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The word ‘please’ softens the tone of any command but does not change the message. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Thank you’ is valuable only when attached to a real action. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Respect is part of courtesy. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Condescension is the antithesis of courtesy. </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Messages must be Complete Let’s get together after lunch. Call me sometime! Get this to me A.S.A.P. <ul><li>The most effective messages do not ask the reader to interpret the writer’s meaning. </li></ul><ul><li>Asking the reader to make assumptions can lead to costly, embarrassing errors. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Make it Clear <ul><li>Clarity is achieved when a reader interprets a message the way the writer intended. </li></ul><ul><li>Written communication must express the writer’s intent as clearly as possible. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Be Specific <ul><li>General terms are subject to the interpretation of the reader. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The IRS reminds us that our tax returns are due in mid-April. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Specific language calls attention to and adds emphasis to a statement, and is more memorable. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The IRS reminds us that our tax returns are due April 15th. </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Efficient Action! <ul><li>Efficiency is saying all that needs to be said, and nothing more. </li></ul><ul><li>It is the opposite of creative writing. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is being curt efficient? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Use active verbs, present tense </li></ul><ul><ul><li>I hit Joe </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>VS. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Joe was hit by me </li></ul></ul><ul><li>I am </li></ul><ul><li>VS. </li></ul><ul><li>I will be </li></ul>
  21. 21. <ul><li>Know the definitions of the words you are using to avoid redundancy. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Revert’ means ‘go back’ - so ‘revert back’ is redundant. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Maximum means the ‘most possible’ - ‘maximum possible’ is unnecessary. </li></ul></ul>Efficient Action! <ul><ul><li>Use </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Problems’ OR ‘concerns’ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Help’ OR ‘assistance’ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Study’ OR ‘review’ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Power’ OR ‘energy’ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>But Not Both </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Sentence Structure <ul><li>In every sentence, the focus is the subject . Pay careful attention to the pronouns you use to refer to a subject - they need to agree. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A cook who follows a recipe will succeed, but if you ignore the recipe, you’ll fail. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>All the boys wanted his own bicycle. </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Subject and verb agreement <ul><li>The purpose of the verb is to tell what the subject is doing. </li></ul><ul><li>Using the wrong form of the verb can throw the meaning of the sentence into question. </li></ul><ul><li>Subject and verbs must be either all plural, or all singular. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A person….they </li></ul></ul>Morals and manners will rise or decline with our attention to grammar. Jason Chamberlain
  24. 24. What kind of message are you sending? <ul><li>Are you responding to the reader’s needs? If so, are you meeting all his needs, some of his needs, or none of his needs? </li></ul><ul><li>Positive Messages </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You can meet all the reader’s objectives while meeting your own. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Neutral Messages </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You can meet some of his objectives, but need to compromise on others in order to meet your needs. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Negative Messages </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You are unable to meet his needs and your own objectives. </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. Back to the Objectives - Your Reader’s and Your Own. <ul><li>Is your objective to get the reader to take an action they might not take otherwise? Then you are writing a Persuasive message. </li></ul><ul><li>Model for Persuasive Messages: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Attract the attention and the interest of the reader quickly. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Explain your request fully, making sure to justify it. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make it as easy as possible for the reader to grant your request. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Request the action with confidence. </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. Your Subject Line <ul><li>Honest reflection of the content </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid “Guess what this is about?” vagueness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Keep it to a max. of seven (7) words </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Make it intriguing enough to get the email opened </li></ul><ul><li>Strive for clarity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘Meeting time changed’ doesn’t tell the recipient which of their 12 meetings have been changed! </li></ul></ul>
  27. 27. Email Etiquette <ul><li>Acronyms </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Very casual </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Presumptive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inappropriate in a business setting (LMAO) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>ALL CAPS </li></ul><ul><li>Exclamation points </li></ul><ul><li>Emoticons </li></ul>
  28. 28. Email Etiquette <ul><li>Return emails the same day you would return a phone call. </li></ul><ul><li>Include a salutation or greeting for each ‘new subject’ email, however, </li></ul><ul><li>Several ‘back and forth’ messages regarding the same topic do not need a greeting line with every message. </li></ul>
  29. 29. Font <ul><li>Fonts are fun to play with, but </li></ul><ul><ul><li>they can be difficult to read or </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>impossible for the server to interpret </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>For example, I have sent emails that, upon opening, look like this: </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>For example, I have sent emails that, upon opening. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Does your company have a standard font? </li></ul>
  30. 30. It’s our responsibility From http://www. millennialliving .com
  31. 31. Bad Email! Bad, bad email! “ Bad spelling, grammar and capitalization are often a clue to the fraudulent nature of a message.”
  32. 32. Paragraphs <ul><li>The Great Wall approach to communication: </li></ul>From http://www. millennialliving .com
  33. 33. Paragraphs - in standard writing <ul><li>A paragraph contains 3-7 sentences that are about the same topic. </li></ul><ul><li>The most important sentences are the first and the last. </li></ul><ul><li>Middle sentences support the first sentence. </li></ul>
  34. 34. Paragraphs in Emails <ul><li>In emails, often you have only one or two sentences to offer on a topic before going to a different one. </li></ul><ul><li>Separate subjects by a space, even if you don’t have a true paragraph. </li></ul><ul><li>Limit the length of paragraphs in emails in order to increase the likelihood that your note will be read. </li></ul>
  35. 35. Humor & Sarcasm <ul><li>Humor and sarcasm help build rapport between people, however... </li></ul><ul><li>They must be used carefully in emails. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The written word is two-dimensional, without benefit of body language or the speaker’s voice inflections. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The reader’s frame of mind at the time they read an item influences the tone of the written word. </li></ul></ul>
  36. 36. Flaming Emails <ul><li>Flaming Emails </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Flaming is a virtual term for venting emotion online, or sending inflammatory emails. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Creates conflict </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unproductive and injurious </li></ul></ul>
  37. 37. Flaming Emails <ul><li>How to avoid sending a flaming email: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Would I say this to the person’s face? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Am I putting the receiver in an awkward position? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How would I feel if I received this email? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What if someone other than the intended recipient were to read this? </li></ul></ul>
  38. 38. Email Etiquette <ul><li>When is email the wrong form of communication? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Disciplinary action </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conflicts or high-emotion topics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Complaints </li></ul></ul><ul><li>When should I ‘Reply to All?’ </li></ul>
  39. 39. Email Etiquette <ul><li>When is forwarding an email the wrong action? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Consider the topic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Requests </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Jokes - refer to your company’s policy </li></ul></ul></ul>
  40. 40. Email Do’s <ul><li>Determine your goal for the message. </li></ul><ul><li>Think about your reader’s goals. </li></ul><ul><li>Be mindful of your tone. </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid acronyms (LOL). </li></ul><ul><li>Mind punctuation and capitalization rules! </li></ul><ul><li>Choose words carefully. </li></ul><ul><li>Keep it short - one page maximum, usually. </li></ul><ul><li>Consider how you will be viewed as the sender of your message. </li></ul><ul><li>Write as though this message will be shared with others. </li></ul>
  41. 41. Email Don’ts <ul><li>Include emoticons </li></ul><ul><li>Send unnecessary attachments </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Respond to All’ unless absolutely necessary </li></ul><ul><li>Send a flaming message </li></ul><ul><li>Incriminate yourself </li></ul>
  42. 42. What about Instant Messaging? <ul><li>People are creating a whole new language </li></ul><ul><li>Great for the PDA’s </li></ul><ul><li>Not acceptable for business contacts </li></ul><ul><li>Not acceptable in emails </li></ul>Language is the roadmap of a culture. It tells you where its people came from and where they are going . Rita Mae Brown
  43. 43. Whether an email or a document, your message will benefit the most by the last step in the writing process...
  44. 44. Proof Reading and Editing! <ul><li>When finished writing, the efficient communicator edits for: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tone </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sentence Structure </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Then proof reads for spelling and grammatical errors, etc. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Proofing is best done after the writer has edited his piece. </li></ul></ul>
  45. 45. You can be an Effective Email Communicator! <ul><li>Think of your goals </li></ul><ul><li>Think of your reader </li></ul><ul><li>Consider the type of message </li></ul><ul><li>Always edit for content, tone & sentence structure </li></ul>