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September 13, 2016

End E-mail Madness

If you’re like most people, your primary form of communication is e-mail. It is one of your most important business tools, yet it is one of the hardest to get control over! Whether you’re writing them, responding to them, or trying to manage an overflowing in-box, e-mails pose a challenge to positive productivity. Here are five quick tips to help you take charge of

  1. Use your subject line. The subject line is the only clue recipients have about the e-mail and what is expected of them. In my Writing and Managing E-mail workshop, I encourage people to start the subject line with a keyword, such as “Decision,” “Review,” “Approve,” and so on. The keyword tells the recipient what the e-mail is about and what you need from them. It can get your e-mail opened sooner!
  2. Use a greeting. “Hi” or “Hello” work for internal e-mails and use a standard correspondence salutation for e-mails going outside the company: Dear [the recipient’s first name] or Dear [the recipient’s title and last name]. In addition to adhering to the rules of etiquette, the e-mail will be treated more seriously since it follows business letter standards.
  3. Avoid text abbreviations, emoticons, and emojis in business e-mails. Abbreviations are tricky since they are open to interpretation and may have more than one meaning. You probably think that LOL means “laugh out loud.” It also means “little old lady” and “lots of love.” Symbols like emoticons and emojis are not professional and do not belong in business correspondence of any kind.
  4. Keep it short. Most people don’t read to the end of an e-mail, so focus on information that is relevant for the recipient and put it first unless it’s bad news. In this case, put the bad news in the middle of the e-mail.
  5. Watch the tone. Tone is what people hear with they read. Short sentences tend to punch the reader, so if your e-mails have been criticized for being abrupt or rude, lengthen your sentences.

Need more help with e-mail? Check out my Writing and Managing E-mail workshop.

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