Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Get Your Mail Read

6 Tips for Making Sure Your Emails are Read AND Understood

Email is a fast, efficient method for communicating, and it does have its pitfalls. People are bombarded with so much information that they are naturally looking for shortcuts, which can cause confusion, frustration, and lack of understanding. Here are 6 tips for avoiding those pitfalls:

1. Keep it VERY short - People receive so many emails on a daily basis that they've taken to skimming to get to the good stuff. Get to the point and give them very little to skim.

2. Be VERY clear - Get in the habit of reading through your emails BEFORE you send them. By being sure that you understand the content, the recipient is more likely to understand it as well.

3. Put your key point in the Subject line - Resist the temptation to build up to a conclusion when you write. Get to the point right up front and the reader will have an easier time understanding the reason for your email. Don't be afraid to go into detail in the Subject line.

4. Include only one task per email or number the list - Assigning one task per email increases the likelihood that your recipient will respond appropriately. If you require your recipient to take multiple actions, assign a number to each task, i.e. "Please respond with the following: 1. Your contact info. 2. The time you want me to call."

5. Mind your cc's - If you are sending an email to multiple recipients and require them to take action, be very clear as to whom is to do what. When you send to more than one person, one recipient can assume the other recipient(s) will respond.

6. Emails are not the place to argue - It is very easy to misunderstand others and be misunderstood when communicating via email. If you sense that a recipient is getting emotional about an email, do yourself a favor and pick up the phone. Many times you can avoid a needless email argument and save a ton of time.

Enjoy Life!
Jon Bohm