If there is one invention that has dramatically changed our lives for the better and the worse, it’s technology. Specifically email.
Many of us are getting to the age where we can remember actually picking up a land line, walking down the hall, driving in our car, sending a Fedx, hiring a courier, using a fax machine or even getting on a plane to do important business.
Email has allowed us to increase our productivity and lower business costs. But email does come at a price in terms of communication effectiveness, relationships and finessing through tough conversations.
Before the next time you press “send”, consider this:
Communication effectiveness comes 10% from words, 50% from body language and 40% from tonality. Since emails are only words, we lose 90% of our effectiveness in an email.
It doesn’t matter what our intentions are when we send an email, the recipient will always and only perceive it through their own personal filter, and that often doesn’t turn out well.
Things that don’t work in emails: Sarcasm, humor, vagueness, casualness and trendy lingo. Beware of information that could come back and get you in trouble with the law or HR.
Fun Fact: Emoji’s can increase effectiveness by about 3%.
17 Email Tips and Tricks:
1. Consider the order in which you list people in the “to line”. Place personnel hierarchy and importance first. When in doubt, use alphabetical.
2. Change your subject line each time you re-send an email. It shows your recipient that you took the time to refine your message to make communication easier.
3. Craft longer emails, they are more friendly. Shorter emails come across terse and less amicable.
4. Type body copy first. Then go back and add return line spaces between thoughts and add a warm salutation.
5. Use only a salutation on your first response to someone.
6. Save the “thank you” for your ending salutation. Niceties in the body copy of an email, such as please and thank you, have they opposite effect.
7. Use more contractions. They are more effective than whole words: can’t versus cannot, won’t versus will not, shouldn’t versus should not.
8. Use “will” versus “would” when asking a request.
9. Never use ALL CAPS. It comes across as YELLING.
10. Once you get down to 2-4 words in an email it’s probably time to stop emailing.
11. Put the recipients names in the “to line” as the last thing you do before sending an email. This way you won’t accidentally hit send before you are finished typing, proofing or saying something you’ll regret.
12. Be sure to click and open any attachments to ensure you are sending the right one and that it hasn’t reformatted incorrectly. Send PDF’s when you can.
13. Don’t use more than one exclamation point. Don’t use any of you don’t have to.
14. Avoid using absolutes and superlatives such never, always, impossible, ridiculous, obviously, etc.
15. Include a professional signature line in all your email accounts, even mobile accounts. Include your phone number, address and other ways people can get ahold of you.
16. Be careful with your pronouns such as “I” and especially “you.”
17. Don’t barrage someone with several different emails. If you have several questions or answers for someone, save it up for one email to ask or answer key topics.
Email is a fantastic tool that allows us to communicate about many things. If we can remember to use it for information, versus for emotion, then it can be our servant and not our master. Use email wisely, don’t let it start or end your day. Block out times to read and send emails throughout the day versus constantly being chained to the “ping.” And ensure you have calmed down and gained perspective whenever you send important messages to important people in your life and work. Remember, an email once written and sent can’t ever be taken back.
- 18 Feb, 2017
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