Build up Your Email Muscles
How the heck did we cope before we had email? What a wonderful tool we’ve all been given to communicate with our colleagues, our clients and even our mums! In a second we can update someone with the latest amend to your project or order that all important part and for that, we should all be grateful, especially when we can send and receive email not only on our computers where a lot of us spend our days but also on our phones meaning we can pretty much get these messages instantaneously.
Like a lot of electronic communication, the human interaction can be lacking as we read words on a screen with no emotional context. Misunderstandings and misinterpretation can be easy so here are some pointers on how to be better at emails.
It can be the easiest thing in the world to come to an email with a negative mindset and write it with a predisposition to how you’re feeling, not even intending to put a downer on the tone. With the easy click of the send button, it can disappear into the ether but maybe before you send it out take a few minutes to review what you’ve written and see if comes across in a negative way. If you are in an emotional place, it doesn’t hurt to have an impartial colleague scan over it to see if there is anything that can be misinterpreted.
- Forward or Not to Forward?
With an ongoing project, situation or issue a forwarding chain of emails comes in, maybe you’ve been added somewhere along the line so you play catch up to understand context and content but can happen is information that wasn’t meant for you. Forwarding can be a messy business indeed. This kind of thing happens constantly but it doesn’t have to happen to you! If you need to add someone to the email chain, maybe consider the information in the previous emails and whether it is something they need to see. It might be worth considering other ways to include people rather than just quickly forwarding everything you have.
- Don’t Gossip
This sounds a little like teaching grandma to suck eggs but it’s the easiest thing in the world to accidentally include sensitive information in an email chain and embarrass yourself. A good rule of thumb is never put something in an email that you wouldn’t say to somebody’s face. In fact, do you know what’s good advice all round?
Just doesn’t gossip.
Find better solutions by talking it through with the person you have an issue with then you won’t have to worry about putting something embarrassing in an email because you would’ve dealt with it already.
Sometimes it’s necessary to provide passwords, contact details and other pieces of sensitive information via email and it’s worth considering in that instance of using encrypted emails. In many cases, the recipient will need to enter their password to read the email meaning only the person intended for the email will be able to see it. Another feature of many email clients will send an email if someone else tries to access it. Clever!
- Don’t Send an Email
Sometimes you just need to talk to someone face to face. If you can’t get the phraseology right without knowing if there will be miscommunication then just talk to someone. Inside the office that’s great, a phone call will do outside of the office but with all the wonderful technology you can still face to face without people being in the office. Skype is a yet another great marvel of the 21st century that we can use. Just because email is easy and convenient doesn’t mean it should be your go-to for every piece of communication. Humanity is slowly being trapped behind their screens, sometimes you just need to talk to someone in the flesh!
- Hey, Good Looking!
Every piece of communication reflects you and your business from how you answer the phones to how your email looks. Not only is is it important that there is a consistency of branding with your logo, colours and information but little things like grammar, spelling and punctuation checks are important to give your clients confidence in you and your business. Sometimes we put links to our businesses in the footers of our emails; are the links working? Sometimes we put pictures of ourselves or from our offices; are these up to date and reflective of how the business currently stands? Be consistent to your customers through every layer of your communication.
These are just a few easy practices to keep while emailing. Is there anything you’ve picked up that could help others with their email?