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The Ultimate List Of Useful Templates For Your Work Emails

The Ultimate List Of Useful Templates For Your Work Emails
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Sending emails can become an enormous time-suck, pulling you away from the important tasks during your work day. Message templates for some common and not-so-common situations can help you trim out the excess minutes you spend hemming and hawing over email correspondences. Browse through some of these email template scenarios and identify the messages you often waste time on. If you’ve had to send a certain type of email more than once, it might be time to create a template for it!

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1. New Marketing Announcements

If you or your company has a significant online following or a mailing list, then you understand just how important it is to send out clear and error-free emails. When you announce new products or services, it’s vital to provide your audience with key points about the launch. Create a basic email template so that you can include minimum necessities, such as:

  •      What the new product or service is
  •      Timeframe (when the new product or service will be available)
  •      Why this product or service is relevant to your audience (the value proposition)
  •      How customers can obtain it
  •      Where customers can find a new service or product, if you have a brick-and-mortar location
  •      Your contact information

Unbounce and Constant Contact have even more tips for creating compelling marketing templates.

2. Asking for Introductions

If someone in your network is connected directly to an influential person in your industry, you might want to ask for an introduction. Having a template for these situations can help you overcome your nerves and just ask for a connection already. Here are some key points to include in your email:

  •      The name and title of the person you’d like to be introduced to
  •      Why you want this introduction
  •      The ideal method of communication (in-person, phone, or email)

You can get more tips on requesting introductions via email at The Muse and Forbes.

3. Upcoming Events

Are you trying to boost attendance at an upcoming open house, conference, or some other work-related event? Or maybe you’re trying to spark interest internally for an optional training session or post-shift happy hour. Instead of crafting a new email from scratch each time something comes up, you can just plug your request into an email template and sent it to the relevant parties. Here are some details to include regarding the event:

  •      Date
  •      Time
  •      Location
  •      What will be covered
  •      Additional incentives
  •      Who will be there

Get inspired while writing email invitations by checking out suggestions at Eventbrite and Constant Contact.

4. Social Media Requests

Most people relegate those annoying “Invitation to Connect” emails from social media companies to the spam folder, especially when they arrive in a work inbox. Some have learned to distrust these social network invites, since they are often automatically sent to everyone in an address book. You can avoid being overlooked by sending a personalized request template directly from your own email, so that the recipient understands who you are and why you’d like to connect on social media. Here are some points to include:

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  •      How you know each other
  •      Mutual contacts
  •      Relevant shared interests
  •      Why you’ want to connect

CareerRealism has a great write-up on how social media invitations can increase your audience.

5. Client Follow Ups

If you haven’t heard from a client in a while, then you might want to touch base to see how they’re doing. You’ll likely want to create a template for follow-ups sent during the purchase decision process and follow-ups for after the transaction is complete. Be sure to consider these points:

  •      Don’t rush clients or be pushy for an update
  •      Recap the last conversation you had
  •      Ask if there’s anything you can do to help

Inc. and emedia have excellent tips on creating great follow up emails for clients.

Looking for Work

1. Inquiry Letters

Not every company posts a clear description of their current openings online. Sometimes it’s better to get in touch with a recruiter directly, so that you can learn more about their positions, company culture, and application processes. If you are sending inquiry letters to learn about available positions, here are a few things to include:

  •      A brief introduction of yourself and your professional background
  •      How you learned about the company
  •      Ask for their application procedures – don’t just include your cover letter and resume with the assumption that this is it

You can learn more about inquiry email etiquette at Business Insider and CareerOneStop.

2. Reference Requests

You should have at least three or four go-to references while you search for jobs, since they might be contacted on short notice during the application review process. If you haven’t secured your references yet, then you’ll need to ask some former supervisors, colleagues, and academic connections. Here’s what to include when you request a reference:

  •      The position and company you’re applying to (or the general field if you’re applying to multiple places)
  •      An update on your professional life (if you haven’t been in touch recently)
  •      Links to your online portfolio or professional social media profile

The Muse and the U.S. News and World Report both offer additional tips on requesting references.

3. A Thank You

After you meet with a recruiter for an interview, it’s important to email them a brief message and thank them for their time. These thank you messages might seem pretty straight forward, but they help recruiters keep you in mind as they interview other prospective applicants. Here are some key points to address:

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  •      Your appreciation of their time
  •      Your contact information
  •      An invitation for recruiters to ask you any additional questions

Business Daily News has posted several Thank You Letter examples.

4. Follow Ups

It’s been two weeks since you’ve applied to a company. Or maybe the notification time period you were given after an interview has lapsed. Of course you’d like to follow up and see how your application review process is doing, but you also don’t want to inconvenience recruiters. Here’s what to include in your single, well-timed follow up so that it’s not awkward:

  •      A reminder of who you are and your last interaction
  •      A request to confirm the receipt of your application or the response time frame after your interview
  •      An invitation for recruiters to ask questions or request additional application documents

Learn more about application follow ups by checking out this U.S. News and World Report resource.

5. Declining Offers

There are many reasons why you might decline a job offer. Perhaps you’ve already accepted employment elsewhere. Or maybe you don’t feel comfortable accepting the pay rate or duties associated with a particular offer. Whatever the reason, you might want to have an email template on hand to decline. Here are some aspects to keep in mind:

  •      Don’t burn bridges. Be careful with what you say, since you might seek out this employer again in the future.
  •      Provide positive feedback and let the employer know if you had a positive experience while applying and being interviewed

Monster and Forbes weigh in with some great offer declining tactics.

Streamlining  Professional Communications

1. Asking for Clarification

While you’re trying to hammer out the details for an upcoming task or project, it’s easy for people to get vague. You might need to ask for further clarification before you can proceed. Create a template that addresses these questions:

  •      The scope and size of the project
  •      Needed resources
  •      Who your main contacts will be

SkillsYouNeed has published a fantastic tutorial on how to ask clarifying questions.

2. Identifying Common Resources

If you become known for your expertise at work, you might receive emails from other employees or professional connections who want to pick your brain about resources. Instead of replying to each one individually, create a template with this vital information. Be sure to include:

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  •      Your personal best practices
  •      Links to internal and external guides
  •      Other company employees who can serve as a resource

3. Asking for Additional Resources

You might begin a task or job, only to find that you don’t have access to enough resources. You’ll need to identify the supervisor or project coordinator that can provide you with these resources. If you have to submit these inquiries frequently, be sure to ask about:

  •      Project specifications
  •      Important points of contact
  •      Budgetary constraints

Learn more about asking your employer for additional support at The Glass Hammer.

4. Apologetic Corrections

Email is a tricky art. At work, you might send dozens of emails a day, and sometimes you cross wires. You might need to issue a correction or inform someone that they weren’t the correct recipients. Here are a few handy templates to keep on hand, in case something goes wrong.

  •      Notifying a recipient to disregard a previous email that wasn’t intended for them
  •      Notifying a recipient of a correction to an email’s content
  •      Apologizing for a belated email correspondence

Instructional Solutions provides businesses with additional ideas on apologizing via email.

5. Going On Vacation

If you’re going to be out of the office, you need to inform your coworkers and clients who their next available point of contact is. Auto-responders that inform people that you’re out of the office are rarely surprising, after all, we all need some time away from work. Here’s what to include in your auto-responder:

  •      The timeframe of your vacation
  •      At least two alternative points of contact
  •      A promise to follow up once you return

Get inspired by vacation auto-responder emails listed by Mashable and BlueLeaf.

The Tough Stuff

1. Declining New Tasks Gracefully

If you’ve got too much work on your plate, you’ll likely need to turn away additional responsibilities. It’s important to do this on a timely basis, so that the other person has the chance to find a replacement. It is possible to say no without being awkward, rushed, or impolite. Here are the main points to address:

  •      Thank them for their confidence in your abilities
  •      Tell them that you either don’t have the necessary time, experience, or resources to complete the said task
  •      Wish them well in finding a different employee for the job

Zenhabits and The Muse provide succinct advice on how to say no without it being awkward.

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2. Questioning Your Supervisor

It’s extremely difficult to challenge your supervisor’s decisions. However, you can do so tactfully and it might not be apparent that you are questioning them at all! Here are some ways to reduce the tension while questioning your supervisor’s methods or decisions.

  •      Provide a summary of what your supervisor wants. You might be misunderstanding their directions, and this gives your supervisor a chance to clarify.
  •      If the decisions go against company policies, mention it. It’s usually better to cover yourself rather than go along with potentially illegal or unauthorized tasks.

Monster provides some great tips on challenging your supervisor without getting into trouble.

3. Submitting Complaints

HR departments exist for many reasons. You might need to submit a complaint about unprofessional behavior in the workplace, which can be an incredibly tough thing to do. If you decide to file a complaint, try to be as objective as possible. Examine your HR complaint procedures and keep the following factors in mind:

  •      Only report the facts. Don’t speculate about an incident. Report relevant times, names of people involved, and locations.
  •      Let them know if you’ve already informed your supervisor of the incident.
  •      Be polite and use professional language. While you might be extremely upset during a work conflict, your credibility can be lost if you’re using vulgar or extremely emotional language.

CBS Money Watch provides some wise advice on when and when not to contact HR.

4. Leaving Your Job

Quitting a job can be uncomfortable, no matter what the circumstances. However, you might want to have a resignation letter template on hand, just in case you find a new job, need to leave for personal reasons, or just want to reassess your professional situation. Here’s what to cover in your resignation letter:

  •      Your preferred last day
  •      A declaration of your resignation
  •      Relevant contacts for shifting responsibilities
  •      A general “thank you” to your colleagues

Take a look at some example resignation letters on Monster and Business Insider.

5. Saying Goodbye to Coworkers and Colleagues

After you submit a resignation letter, you might also want to send goodbye notices to your fellow colleagues and clients. Depending on the nature of your work, these people might need to know that you will no longer be a point of contact at a company. These goodbye letters should cover:

  •      Important contact information for those taking over your duties
  •      Where to find resources you’ve created for the company
  •      Your thanks
  •      An invitation to connect via social media (only if outside communications are permitted by your current employment contract)

CareerBright provides some great advice on saying farewell without cutting important professional ties.

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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