While it's difficult to avoid email, here are few ideas to create a more professional and efficient email process that can be applied to both small and large businesses.
- Is email the best and most appropriate means of communication? Sometimes it's quicker and more effective to just pick up the phone.
- Only send it to the person who needs to read it. Don't clog up someone's inbox if they don't need to see it.
- Answer all questions, and pre-empt further questions. Avoids additional emails being sent back and forth.
- Use proper spelling, grammar and punctuation. This should apply to any form of communication.
- Make it personal - "Dear Sir/Madam" is so formal.
- Don’t attach unnecessary files. Large files can clog up an email system - especially when they get sent to multiple addressees. Think about using Google Drive or Dropbox for file sharing.
- Don’t write in CAPITALS - that's seen as shouting in the online world.
- Don't leave out the message thread - especially if it relates to what you're discussing.
- Read the email before you send it - we all mistype and skip words - check it through.
- Don’t overuse Reply to All - does everyone really need to see your reply.
- Don’t request delivery and read receipts - have their uses but may also be switched off anyway by the recipient.
- Avoid excessive use of the high priority option, URGENT and IMPORTANT (unless it is!)
- Don’t use email for confidential or sensitive information.
- Avoid email ping-pong – pick up the phone instead.
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