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Effective Email Tips

Effective Email Tips

Stakeholders (Audience and related people)? Subject? Importance? Sender & Recipient Internet Connections? Are all issues that you have to think of while sending and email. If you wish to send email messages in a more effective manner following the broad email etiquette standards, then DO continue reading.

In this article, we will try to touch upon the various important issues pertaining to email etiquettes and protocols:

Inbox related Tips
Organize your Mail – use filters (per person / company / subject / Recipient Status – To, Cc or BCc) to organize your inbox and outbox. Software that may help you do so include Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express. This way you’ll be able to optimize on your email receipt, reading and – in turn – responding as you have everything your mails sorted according to the priorities you set.

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Email Writing & Sending Tips
Who are the Stakeholders? – and what are their significance with regard to your e-mail’s subject? If you’re writing an email at work to report an incident or to follow up on a particular project deadline/ due date, then you’ll probably have the following set up:
To: Your actual main recipient (to whom this email is a must read)
Cc: (send a Carbon copy) of the email to your interested parties.
There are 2 famous perceptions for who to place in the Cc recipient section of your email message.
One view point is to have your direct manager, and probably your recipient’s direct manager. This copy is usually kept for reference and managers don’t usually refer to them or read them unless they have extra time OR a problem concerning this email has risen.
The opposing view point (applied in some other places around the world) is to place the people who are in the FYI (For your information) category in the Cc section. These people need to know the information to perform the work better, but they need not (necessarily) respond to the email. Advocates of this view point do not Cc their managers.
BCc: (send a Blind Carbon copy) of the email to some other party that you think needs to know about the subject, without letting other parties (i.e. the To and Cc recipients) know about this person’s knowledge.

Recipient’s Connection: if you go ahead and type a long email with attachments and pictures and send it to someone whose Internet connection is a slow dial up, then he/she might as well post pone reading it – if at all!

Recipient’s State:
Work Schedule – Busy? Keeping an email short and to the point is essential as he/she might have hundreds of other emails to read.

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Accepts HTML? You might as well check with your recipient prior to sending him/her emails with HTML content as most people usually switch this option off to reduce the size of their email messages.

Jargon: Try to avoid abbreviations and field-specific jargon so that your recipient may understand you. More often than not, engineers – for example – tend to use their abbreviations while addressing even their top management – who may have forgotten the meaning of such technical lingo.

According to Nancy Flynn and Tom Flynn: ‘By requiring employees to use appropriate, businesslike language in all electronic communications, employers can limit their liability risks and improve the overall effectiveness of the organization’s e-mail and Internet copy in the process’

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Importance: Classifying your email in terms of Importance, Urgency and Confidentiality also adds a taste of understanding for the recipient. You may even make it obvious for the recipient to act upon by clearly identifying the e-mail’s properties in a table at the top of your contents.

Try to make it easier for your recipient to understand the purpose of the email. You may even define your email messages as “Requiring action”, “FYI – For Your Information”, “Requires Reply”, “Time sensitive”, or other action, time, or sensitivity related key words right at the beginning.

Moreover, spam controller programs often eliminate or rule as “Junk” email messages without subjects or with ambiguous meaning.

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Caps – Never use capital letters while typing and email message to anyone. For starters, caps are considered impolite and resemble shouting in speech (Ellen Dowling).

Genre of Topic – Avoid mixing subjects in your email. Unless otherwise needed by your superior or work culture, mixing subjects in one email message might confuse your readers. At least, don’t mix the type of message; if you’re discussing work then stay focused on work topics without straying to personal issues.

Proof read – Always proof read your email prior to sending it. It may take you a minute, and it may take you 10, but after all you’ll be sure that the message you sent is free of grammatical, vocabulary and appropriate usage errors.

Subject Line – what you write in the subject line is almost as important as the email itself. In most cases, what your subject line is determines whether or not the recipient will read your email, or even when he/she shall read it.

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

Reference

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