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Email’s most embarrassing moments! Don’t let this happen to you

Posted on May 10 by

Recently I received two emails: “No poets are accepted at the office” (instead of pets). Another wrote: “I need an assistant that is efficient, cheerful and reproductive under pressure.”

Too often, I receive emails like these, or others that are poorly typed, or as above, used spell check sometimes with comical results. Cells phones and tablets are powerful tools for communicating quickly and efficiently in real time. However, they are not designed for long messages and extensive typing. The keyboard size alone has its limitations. Your personal brand depends on how well you use communication tools like email.

Here is a short list of practical suggestions to help you use email system professionally and effectively:

  1. Always acknowledge receipt of your emails; maybe not the ones that you were copied on, but always for those that were specifically sent to you. This is a professional touch. “thank u” is exactly 9 key strokes, including the reply, space and the send button. No excuse.
  2. Always use the option of an email receipt when sending emails to confirm recipient.
  3. Change the subject of the email heading when you respond unless the subject has not changed. Changing the subject helps your recipient find and open your email, especially if they receive a large number of emails daily. It also shows that you are respectful of their time.
  4. Always have your key contact information shown at the bottom of the email. This can be system generated. Besides being good marketing, you are making it easy for people to know who you are, your position, your company, your telephone and address, and how to contact you.
  5. If you need to have a disclaimer at the bottom of your email, please make it short and simple. Here is a good example: “The information transmitted in this email is intended only for the person it is addressed to and may contain confidential or privileged information. If you receive this email in error, please contact the sender immediately by return email and delete this transmission. Thank you.” No need to use 6 paragraphs written by a QC Lawyer or a professor with a PhD.
  6. Always read your text before you hit send. Look for typos and punctuation errors, of course, but a second or third reading helps spot a few corrections, changes or additions to make it better. Email is a great communication tool, so if one or two more words can do a better job, edit a bit.
  7. Your emails should always sync with your main lap top or desk top, but sometimes they do not! Don't ask me why! Check every day and make sure they do sync so you don’t miss anything. Every day!
  8. Instead of reading and responding to emails when received, chose specific times during the day to check and respond. People with urgent needs should call. You can actually train people to expect this from you!
  9. Aim at handling each email once by filing it, discarding it or by creating a task.

 

Think of your mobile device like a motorcycle. It's okay to use it for small purchases from the convenience store, but grossly inadequate for carrying heavy and bulky purchases from Home Depot. Know when to use email and when to meet face to face or pick up the telephone and call!

I hope these suggestions help make you an excellent email user and communicator. Remember that knowing these rules is good, but what makes them great is using them! For more on practical and down to earth suggestions and "how to's" of managing a business successfully check out my new book Maverick Leadership, a practical guide for Entrepreneurs, General Managers and CEO's. It is available from hughlatif.com and amazon.com/ca, also on Kindle.      

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