THE IMPORTANCE OF WRITING EFFECTIVE EMAILS

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Although email is extremely useful, it can consume a lot of your time and energy if you don’t use it effectively, leading to decreased productivity and working inefficiently.

For example, how much time do you spend reading forwarded emails that have nothing to do with you or your work? Or how often have you had to search your inbox for an email that required immediate attention, whose sender you hadn’t marked as “urgent”?

Here are eight strategies to help you use email more effectively:

Correct use of email fields

When choosing your recipients, it is important to use “To”, “cc” and “bcc”, only use the “To” field to write the email address of the recipients. Who are directly affected by the email? The”cc” or “carbon copy” field is for recipients who need to know the information in the message, but are not directly affected or involved in the communication. Utilize the “bcc” or “blind duplicate” field when you need to send an email to an enormous number of individuals, yet don’t have any desire to uncover the names and email locations of the multitude of clients on the rundown.

 Be selective with the function: “Reply all”

The “Reply All” feature gives you an easy way to reply to everyone in an email thread. However, you should only use it when you are sure that your answer is relevant to each of them. When giving feedback, never use Reply All. If you have to share bad news or make a new comment, start a new email. It sends that information only to the person who is to receive the message.

Avoid “Tennis Email”

We’ve all “played tennis” via email before. It occurs when people shoot messages back and forth. It often happens in a short period of time, for example, to determine the date of a meeting. You can avoid this and save time by giving your recipients options in your initial email.

Example:

Hello Luis, we need to find a time this week to meet. It would be available on Wednesday morning at 10am or Thursday afternoon at 4pm. How would it go for you? Greetings, Laura.

Imagine what would have happened if Laura had given Luis no choice. He might have wanted to meet on Monday, for example, and Laura would have had to reply that she was not available. It is advisable that you give your recipients as much information as they need in your initial email. This will save time and frustration, and allow you to finish the email exchange quickly. Another option would be to make a phone call and speak to the person directly.

Be courteous

Make sure to check your inbox regularly, and reply to emails within a reasonable amount of time. This is a simple act of courtesy and will encourage others to respond to your emails appropriately.

How often you should check your mail will depend on the nature of your work. A good way to manage your inbox is to check it three times a day. Sometimes time can be wasted by responding too quickly. If you need to send a detailed response to an email but don’t have time to compose the information right away, scan the message and reply indicating when you’ll be able to provide a full response. Lastly, use your “out of office” message settings when you’re away from your email for a day or more.

If a mail is urgent, please indicate it.

Emails that are of the highest priority should be marked “urgent” in the subject line, before the subject header, so the recipient knows to prioritize them.

Example:

Subject: URGENT, please check before 12 noon.

However, always make sure that email is the best way to send urgent messages. For example, if the recipient is out of the office and not checking their emails, it is unlikely that they will read the message soon. It will be more appropriate to use instant messaging or phone directly.

Clear signage

How many times have you received a “PSI” (for your information) email from someone and had to scroll through email exchanges to discover the relevant information? When sending a PSI email, we will be doing the recipient a huge favor if we summarize what they need to know. This is particularly useful when sending attachments. List key points at the top of your email and recipients will know at a glance what they’ll find there.

Example: Subject: Summary February 12.

Hello everyone, Here are the key points from today’s meeting:

  • The project deadline: February 17.
  • Carlos will assume the position of project manager during Marta’s absence.
  • Pedro Garcia will be joining the team as project manager. I have also attached the minutes, in case anyone would like a more detailed look at what we discussed today.

Sending Thank You Emails

How many times have you sent an email to say thank you? Everyone wants to feel appreciated, but while it’s important to express your gratitude for someone’s hard work, sending short thank-you messages back and forth isn’t efficient. When you’re sending a lot of thank you messages to someone, a better option is to send just one final thank you message, maybe a bit longer.

Example: Hi Lucy, I wanted to thank you for all your hard work this week. Your communication has been great, and I really appreciate your quick responses. This project will be a success with your help! Thanks again, Maria.

Submission of confidential information

When you have to send confidential information, remember that the mail is not 100% secure. Once you’ve sent an email, the recipient can forward it to anyone. Don’t put sensitive information in the body of an email. Instead, why not save it to an encrypted or password-protected file? Or, transmit sensitive information face-to-face or over the phone. A good rule of thumb is to assume recipients won’t treat emails as private.

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