Business email must be taken seriously and attended to in a very businesslike manner.
The way you write or the way you reply to a business email will tell a great deal about you as a person.
More and more, emails have become a convenient way to communicate, and some individuals use emails as a way to write their own form of English "shorthand." They consider emails very much like texting on the cell phone. We are learning that "texting" seems to have a language all its own - and it is definitely NOT a language of formal business.
Here are a few hints to deal with your business emails to keep you productive and successful.
Before you hit “Send,” take another look at your message. Reread it for clarity. If something can be misunderstood, it will be misunderstood.
Avoid sending empty emails. Add a few words of your intent in the body of all emails. Otherwise, the recipient may wonder what your intent is, and may be confused - and offended - by what appears to be a very rude action on your part.
Reply All or Reply individually. Be careful about Replying All instead of Replying individually. There
is no need to Reply All if your message is for one single person – the
writer of the email. But if the message and the follow-up are important
for all of the parties, then you should, indeed, use the Reply All
Know which one is appropriate.
As a habit, avoid “Reply All.” Make that a habit. Many people like to “reply all” and clutter mailboxes quite unnecessarily. I dislike receiving emails that have nothing to do with me.
I remember that I signed up for an organizational group. I wanted to keep up to date with innovations in my particular area of interest.
However, the emails that I received were personal and directed to some other people in the email list who had none of the interests that I had, and I didn’t know any of them – and yet, every day there were countless emails in response to someone’s personal comments.
I soon removed myself from that email list.
I never again joined that group – though I still perhaps would have liked to stay up to date with them . I have much more to do than to read numerous emails that have nothing to do with me and which simply clog my email box.
All because the writers all clicked “Reply All” instead of doing what would have been the sensible thing and replying only to the appropriate individuals!
Keep emails short. Long emails are difficult to read. People are busy and need to understand the message quickly. They do not want to get bogged down. They do not to have to “work” to read and understand your message. Always write for your reader. Make it easy for the reader to understand the message.
Format emails with proper paragraphs. Long blocks of text are very difficult to read and may not be read. That, of course, negates the entire purpose of writing in the first place.
Write only as much as necessary. If you are writing to a friend, that’s a different matter from writing a business email. You can write in your personal style. However, keep business emails succinct and clear.
Bulleted points can highlight what’s important. A message that includes a list of short points can be very effective. A short list – and a list of short points – can be very easy to read and understand.
One topic per message. Following this guideline will help you to write short and succinct messages. If an email contains too many topics, the recipient may miss part of the message. Always write for the reader. Start a new email message for each new topic that is important.
Write a good email subject line.
Be careful with forwarded messages. Avoid forwarding messages that contain lists of all previous email recipients or other extraneous and useless formatting. Clean up the messages that you forward – and add a short note about your intent.
As a business person, you may have more than one email address. If you are fortunate and logical, you may have your emails all directed to one single email program. Microsoft Outlook is an example.
Keep all emails together. You can configure your Microsoft Outlook to accept several email addresses into the same program – and you can separate those email address quite effectively. It is a fairly easy job, then, to keep up with all your business emails and your personal emails, and perhaps your emails that are directed to another separate organization.
More and more, email programs are in “the cloud.” You don’t have to be on your home computer to be able to access your business email. That’s perhaps a bonus.
Organization is paramount. However, if you have to maintain a clear file of your business emails, then you must have a “home computer” on which you can actually do your day-to-day organization and filing.
Unfortunately, businesses are never going to get away from the drudgery
of filing. It used to be the dread job of the “temporary hire.” It
used to be the job of the lowest person on the seniority list.
But filing your business emails – and filing all of your business documents – is going to keep you organized and keep you productive. You must be organized if you are going to be successful.
And that includes being organized with your business emails as well.
Your email correspondence must be organized and looked after. You must treat your emails as if they were proper business letters in that regard.
Respond/acknowledge all emails immediately.
When you receive an email, send back an acknowledgement immediately –
not an automatic and impersonal email. Send back and short Thank You.
Briefly tell the reader that you will deal with the topic as soon as
possible – whatever it may be. Tailor the short email message to the
particular situation. Consider the reader.
This considerate email gesture will make your reader happy, and you will be considered an organized and kind and considerate individual.
Have you ever sent an email to someone and then wondered if it was received? That feedback is very important to effective communication. Follow-through as you want others to follow through with you.
Create a To Do List and follow it consistently. If you receive a task request through an email, place that task immediately into your ToDo List. The list should be something that you can see clearly on a regular basis to jog your memory often – until you actually complete the task and can remove it from your ToDo list.
You must be organized if you hope to be successful.