Five Tips on How to Most Efficiently and Effectively Use Email

Jun 10, 2015 -

Nowadays, email is the primary form of communication in business. Email has replaced in many respects the use of a phone as it is much easier to send emails than to pick up a phone and call someone. Though these are two different methods of communication, there are some people who expect an immediate response from an email much like a SMS text to a friend or an update to social media. There is certain business etiquette that comes with using email as a form of communication and if you use it wrong it can come off as unprofessional. People spend a fourth of the day reading, writing, and replying to their email box, don't contribute to each other's email clutter.  

Here are a number of email etiquette and guidelines that can go a long way in helping minimize email clutter and actually will help your chances in getting your emails read.

1) Email shall not be used to scold or discipline people

Consider a situation whereby your coworker just dropped the ball on a project and now you are suffering the consequences for something you didn't have full control over. Your first instinct is to rip your coworker a new one. Tell him or her off and then flip the bird perhaps. You decide to draft an email with all your anger directed towards that individual. Wait a second. Before you do that, cool down and step away from your desk. Remember that email will be stored on the company server somewhere. Refrain from sending out that email.

2) Send relevant email content to your recipients

The last thing you would want is to receive an email that has nothing to do with what you are doing or related to you in any way. Make sure if you are sending something to someone, it is relevant to them. Have an objective, actionable point, and make sure to address your recipient personally.

3) Limit the number of emails you send related to a discussion

Sending an email should not result in playing email tag. In a professional setting, emails should not be used to banter back and forth or left to right. Be concise and offer solutions in your email, which will help keep long email chains at bay. If your "discussion" ends up going past three emails, perhaps you should pick up the phone or schedule a conference call.

4) Add the email address last

How many times did you accidentally send an email that was not ready to be sent? Maybe on second thought, you didn't mean to send out that email. Take your time to write the email, proofread it, make any changes and attachments, add the recipients, and then fire it off.

5) Only expect the 'to' recipients to respond

Common practice has been those who are CCed typically will not respond to the email or they may merely skim over the emails. If you want a response from someone, make sure you address them in the 'To' field or direct the email towards them. For example, "Jim, will you please take a look at this? In the meantime, Barbara, if you could help set up a call regarding this with Jim, myself, and you that would be helpful." In this case I would still send the emails 'to' Jim and Barbara rather than 'CC' them.
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