[AI] 10 basic tips for better e-mail use and management.
pradeepsocialwork at gmail.com
Mon Apr 7 03:34:56 EDT 2008
USE E-MAIL AS ONE CHANNEL OF COMMUNICATION
It's fast & easy. It can document discussions. It enables high-impact messages to be sent with the click of a mouse. But it also misleads bosses into thinking
they can manage large groups of people through regular group e-mails. Use e-mail wisely.
KEEP IT SHORT AND SWEET
Know that e-mails longer than one screen-full often aren't read right away; they get shoved to the end of the day or the next morning. Know also when it's
time to put down the mouse and go talk to someone, or pick up the phone.
DECODE YOUR MESSAGES AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
Say what you really want to have happen. Start with the subject line: Make it clear and compelling. Be certain about who really needs to be on the 'to:'
and the 'cc:' line. Be clear about action items and priorities. Spell them out, as lists or bulleted items. Include a response button or some other mechanism
if you must know that everyone has read and understood your message.
ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO RESPOND WITH QUESTIONS
That's akin to keeping your office door open.
SAVE YOUR WRATH FOR FACE-TO-FACE MEETINGS
'Flame mails', or e-mails dripping with criticism or venom, often backfire. Terse e-mails, because they are not accompanied by the writer's facial expression
or body language, can easily come across more harsh than intended.
INJECT HUMOUR, BUT KEEP EMOTICONS TO A MINIMUM
The smiley faces do help clarify when you are being facetious. But too many facetious mails erode your attempts to write serious ones.
HAVE GAP BETWEEN WHEN YOU SEND & WHEN IT GOES
Experts see value in managers being able to retract poorly written messages before they even go out. A 5-minute rule won't hurt anyone. If you're angry
when you're about to write, take a step further. Get up and walk around or do something else before you write the mail.
SET TIME TO ANSWER YOUR E-MAILS
If you can't keep up during a normal day, build time into your work day or delegate some of the responsibility. When is it too late to respond to someone?
GET SOME TRAINING
Or at least get help from a student or subordinate. E-mail should have some role in your communication with employees, partners and others - there is really
no valid reason to avoid it.
USE SPELL-CHECK - AND A THESAURUS
Avoid typos and mangled sentences. They make you look bad. Avoid clichés, too.
(Source: Microsoft Small Business Center)
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