Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Read Your E-Mail Before Sending

This is the most simple and basic rule one must follow before hitting that Send button. However, this is rule that is often ignored. Take time to proofread before your E-Mail and you avoid errors and misunderstanding. You can correct any mis-spelt words or wrong grammar. More importantly, you can also delete any inappropriate comment that might have got in inadvertently, saving you a lot of grief later on.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, November 29, 2010

Avoid All-Capital Words and Abbreviations

Capital letters should be reserved for the beginning of sentences and proper nouns. Capital letters are akin to shouting on the web. It is not seen as a polite thing to do, and certainly not professional.

The same rule applies for abbreviations. They do not make for easy reading. Some abbreviations (like 'lol' for 'Laughing Out Loud') are considered juvenile and are not suitable at all for a professional environment. Likewise for smileys and emoticons, which are best avoided in a professional environment. You may, of course, use them when the recipient is someone you are very close to.

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, November 26, 2010

'High Priority' and 'Reply to All'

Do not abuse these functions in your E-Mail client or program. An email marked 'High Priority' could have a feeling of being more aggressive than it actually is. Moreover, excessive use might actually end up with the recipient not looking at your E-Mail.

Use "Reply to All" only if it is absolutely necessary for all the original  recipients to receive your reply.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Respond to E-Mails Quickly

People send you an e-mail because they expect a quick response. The rule is to respond to an e-mail within 24 hours and preferably the same day. If you can not immediately respond to a question, send an e-mail saying that you have received their E-Mail and that you will respond as quickly as possible. Thus, the person knows that you will get back soon.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Structure Your E-Mail

Reading on a screen is harder than reading a printed document. So be sure to structure your E-Mail. Use a clear layout. Short sentences and paragraphs make an E-Mail easier to read. If you are using a list, make sure to have bullets to delineate each point in the list.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, November 22, 2010

Using the BCC Field

Use the BCC field when you do not want recipients to know who else you have sent the e-mail to. The BCC field ensures privacy of your contacts since recipients can not view this field. If you use the BCC field, but be sure to leave the 'To' or 'Reply To' blank, or your e-mail may be considered spam.

Labels: , , ,

E-Mail Has Limits

Do not use E-Mail to avoid having a conversation. Do not send angry potentially inflammatory E-Mail when a heart-to-heart conversation either in person or over the phone is needed. E-Mail is not good for debates, accusations or personal attacks. E-Mail is really designed for convenience, not for urgency.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, November 19, 2010

E-Mail is Not Equal

Not everyone has access to the same technology for viewing E-Mail. This means that some people can view HTML and text-based E-Mail, while others on old browsers and on many wireless devices can only see text E-Mail. Thus, be concise when writing E-Mail. This will become more and more important for wireless interactions because many have to pay by character received or sent. If you are participating in E-Mail marketing campaigns, ensure that your outbound message can be read by various browsers.

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Anything You Send via E-Mail Could Be Used Against You!

As a medium of communication, E-Mail is not secure. Sure, E-Mail is fast and convenient. Suppose you have sent e-mail to a friend which also contains personal information about yourself. Your friend could easily forward the e-mail to someone you would never have sent your personal information to yourself. This could be inadvertent but the damage is done. There is no UNDO command for this! Therefore assume that everyone can read your e-mails. Do not send confidential information via e-mail.

Offensive language, racist or discriminatory language also could end you up in trouble, even if you meant just humor. Remember the bottom line: Anything You Send by E-Mail Could Be Used Against You!

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

E-Mail is Personal

E-Mail, whether formal or informal, is a very personal medium similar to personal conversation. If you send an E-Mail to someone and he/she does not respond, you will feel anxious and disappointed. Use auto-acknowledgement and out-of-office replies appropriately to let people know you received their E-Mail communication. If you are using auto-responders, avoid E-Mail loops by using varying "from" addresses. Use clear signature names at the footers so everyone knows exactly who is writing to them and how to contact the sender.

In an e-mail campaign, use personalization features for your mailing list in the program you use. "Dear John" sounds more intimate that "Dear Customer". Sometimes, it may mean the difference between the recipient reading your e-mail rather than consigning it to Trash.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, November 15, 2010

E-Mail Is Not Free

One of the erroneous assumptions is that E-Mail is free. E-Mail is not by any means free. There are many direct and indirect costs associated within this medium. As mentioned in previous articles, it costs money for an organization to handle an inbound customer E-Mail. However, beyond this there are other costs. Spam or junk e- mail costs money to read, process, store and delete. E-Mail containing viruses has many side effects including loss in productivity and potential destruction of valuable information. Large attachments require additional space. Chain letters, forwarding of jokes and participation in flaming debates via E-Mail add to these costs.

Recognize that every E-Mail interaction has a cost including your time, computer hardware and software costs and IT personnel time to maintain the systems. Be frugal with E-Mail; if you're not paying for it, someone is.

Labels: , , ,

E-Mail Can Be Confusing

While E-Mail is great for communicating fast and easily, it can be confusing because the sender and receiver of such communications only see words ­ not gestures and emotions. Therefore, precision is central to E-Mail communications. Do not use capitalization unless it is necessary. Avoid sarcasm, as this can be very dangerous. For example, "What are you talking about?" can be construed in many ways: a joke, an attack or a sarcastic remark. Use a clear subject line, signature line, header, body and footer in all E-Mail communications.

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fowarding A Chain of E-Mails

When you forward a chain of e-mails to someone, add a note of explanation before the series of forwarded messages. Do not expect them to burrow through your e-mail and read every linked message if you just forward them without any explanation. Take the time to explain your reasoning or what you want you to focus on. It is then easier for the person to whom you are you sending the e-mail to respond to the question at hand rather than be puzzled about what exactly you require or expect.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Be Safe When Sending Jokes or Sarcastic E-Mail

Sending jokes or sarcastic e-mail to people you are not too familiar with could create unpleasantness, when the other person is offended by or misunderstands your jokes or sarcasm. In general, avoid sending such e-mail to people you do not know very well.

Use your address book. It is there for a reason! Create a group and add only people you know very well to this group. If you really have that urge to forward or send a joke to a friend, just send them to this group alone.

Labels: , , , , ,

E-Mail Has Permanence

Each E-Mail you send is more than likely saved or archived on your computer system or on the recipient's system; therefore, do not assume that an E-Mail message no longer exists, even if you delete what you received or sent. Your thoughts and interactions with others, via E-Mail, are archived and saved, potentially for posterity.

In financial services organizations, all data must be saved for a minimum of seven years. Think about what you are writing and what legacy you are leaving through such communications. E-Mail communications can be presented in a court of law.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

E-Mail Reflects You and Your Organization

When you write an E-Mail, you are mirroring your thoughts and feelings in the electronic medium. It is important to understand the difference between writing an informal and a formal E-Mail. Sometimes it is okay to be funny and joking; that is the nature of the E-Mail medium. However, in business communications, err on the side of formality by spell checking, grammar checking and following proper etiquette of writing with proper headers and footers on all E-Mail communications.

For organizations, every E-Mail sent to a prospect or customer reflects your organization's brand. Set standards, protocols and templates to ensure that the millions of E-Mails that are sent do not erode your brand, but rather enhance it through each communication. Within each communication, be concise with clear objectives and the result you hope to achieve.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, November 1, 2010

E-Mail is not "private."

You may think that any E-Mail you send is only intended for the recipient; however, E-Mail can be easily forwarded, or the recipient of your E-Mail can reply while copying or blind copying a host of others. On a different level, following 9-11 and the Homeland Security initiatives, all of our E-Mail is accessible by the government at any time and any place regardless of the level of security and encryption. From a corporate perspective, the company owns any and all E-Mail transactions made on the company's server. Also, those sending E-Mail must be aware of hackers and thieves. Be particularly careful to avoid sending passwords, credit card numbers and other personally identifiable information via E-Mail.