Effective email communications

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Effective email communications

  1. 1. Effective Email Communications
  2. 2. Subject Lines • Email subject lines need to: grab recipient attention and tell the contents of the email. Use a few well-chosen words, so that the recipient knows at a glance what the email is about • Include project name! It helps for searching/sorting emails later • If your message is one of a regular series of emails, such as a weekly project report, include the date in the subject line • Using a well written subject line increases the chances that your email will be read, rather than mistaken for spam and deleted • Never leave the subject line blank. Emails with blank subject lines are usually spam! • If changing to a new topic, change the subject line
  3. 3. Quiz • Which is the well written subject line? a) Meeting b) Wednesday meeting c) WITCH Project-Meeting for Wednesday 10/31/12
  4. 4. Format • Use sans serif font (without the little feet) • Use black or blue text • If you must use a background, make sure it’s a plain one • Try to keep emails to just a paragraph or two (thoughts?) • Use white space to visually separate paragraphs into blocks of text *There is a time and place for emoticons
  5. 5. Format • Use some kind of greeting and some kind of sign-off • Use main signature once • Bullet important details so that they are easy to pick out • Use bold or CAPITAL LETTERS to highlight critical information, such as due dates (use this sparingly)
  6. 6. Information • Briefly state your purpose for writing the e-mail in the very beginning of your message • Strive for clarity and conciseness in your writing. – Miscommunication can occur if an e-mail is unclear, disorganized, or just too long and complex to easily follow • Be sure to provide the reader with a context for your message. – When replying to someone else’s e-mail, it can often be helpful to either include or restate the sender’s message
  7. 7. Information (continued) • Use paragraphs to separate thoughts (or consider writing separate e-mails if you have many unrelated points or questions) • State the desired outcome at the end of your message. – If you’re requesting a response, let the reader know what type of response you require – If you’re requesting something that has a due date, be sure to highlight that due date in a prominent position in your e-mail • Ending your e-mail with the next step can be useful – For example, “I will follow this e-mail up with a phone call to you in the next day or so” or “Let’s plan to further discuss this at the meeting on Wednesday”
  8. 8. Tone/Style • Reflect on the tone of your message – Think about your audience, is it a friend, colleague, physician, someone you’ve never worked with before? • People have different opinions about the form and content of e-mails, so it is always helpful to be aware of the expectations of your audience – For example, some regard e-mail as a rapid and informal form of communication. Others may view e- mail as a more convenient way to transmit a formal letter. Such people may consider an informal e-mail rude or unprofessional
  9. 9. Tone/Style continued • When you are communicating via e-mail, your words are not supported by gestures, voice inflections, or other cues, so your tone may be misread – For example, sarcasm and jokes are often misinterpreted in e-mails and may offend your audience. Similarly, be careful about how you address your reader. When in doubt err on the side of more formal! • Think about what to share and when to share
  10. 10. When Not to Email E-mail is not an effective means of communication when: • Your message is long and complicated or requires additional discussion that would best be accomplished face-to-face. • Information is highly confidential. E-mail is NEVER private! Keep in mind that your message could be forwarded on to other people without your knowledge. • Your message is emotionally charged or the tone of the message could be easily misconstrued. If you would hesitate to say something to someone’s face, do not write it in an e-mail. • If you don’t want the messaged shared with someone else, don’t put it in email.
  11. 11. Additional Tips • Use proper spelling, grammar & punctuation • Do not overuse the high priority option • Do not write in CAPITALS • Add disclaimers to your emails • Don’t overuse Reply All or the cc field • Double check your cc • Be careful with bcc • Use active voice instead of passive • Take care with abbreviations and emoticons  • Avoid using URGENT and IMPORTANT • Don't send or forward emails containing libelous, defamatory, offensive, racist or obscene remarks • Read the email before you send it
  12. 12. Main Points • Subject lines are headlines • One topic per email • Proofread • Specify the response you want • Purpose of the message detailed in the very first paragraph • Sentences should be kept short and to the point • Should be direct and informative, but not blunt
  13. 13. References http://www.mindtools.com/CommSkll/EmailCo mmunication.htm http://www.emailreplies.com/ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/effective -e-mail-communication/

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