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6 Strategies to Ensure Your E-mails Are Effective

Categories: Business Communication

E-mails are a way of life – much to the chagrin of the U.S. Postal Service.

While they may be “free” and so easy to send and receive, there are many common mistakes made when using e-mail to communicate.

Here are six pointers:

  1. Grammar and punctuation still count! Take the extra moment to proofread before sending all e-mails. Be concise, and use clear subject lines.
  2. Using all uppercase or bold fonts – Can be interpreted by the recipient as shouting.
  3. Using all lowercase and/or no punctuation – Gives recipients the impression you value your time more than theirs, or that you are lazy, illiterate, or, worse yet, don’t care.
  4. Flagging/marking messages as urgent! – You can get a bad reputation by always flagging e-mails as priorities or urgent, even if they truly aren’t. And, have you ever heard of the “boy who cried wolf” syndrome?
  5. Watch out for Outlook choosing the wrong recipient – I can’t tell you how many embarrassing moments I’ve heard of where the sender of an e-mail let the not-so-handy feature of Microsoft Outlook choose who should get a message. So, if you do rely on this feature, when you type a few letters of a person’s e-mail account, and one or more pops up for you to select the right one, you’d better be 110% sure it’s the RIGHT person before you hit “Send.” You can’t recall an e-mail already sent – and it sure will make you look bad to apologize for sending the wrong person a message meant for someone else!
  6. E-mails are never truly deleted – All e-mails are the property of your employer/company. So, remember this the next time you send a sensitive personal e-mail that can be retrieved from the hard drive (there is no true “deleting” when it comes to “trashing” an e-mail).

Like any communication tool, e-mail needs to be used effectively.

So, be brief, get to the point, and don’t send an e-mail when a quick phone call or stroll across the hallway for a face-to-face can work even better.

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