Effective Communication: Writing Emails

Communication is such a big part of life and email is now a common format for daily communication. Although email is not a common topic of discussion in maintenance and reliability, effective communication is an important aspect of our jobs. I would like to share a few rules of effective email writing that you can start using today.  

Due to the impersonal aspect of email communication we lose the benefit of eye-contact, body language, tone and rely solely on our words. This means that we are all fallible to misunderstanding and general miscommunication.

Here are a few great tips to remember as you construct your next email:

  • Mind your Manners: Use basic manners, say ”please” and ”thank you” ; address people how they expect to be addressed.
  • Watch your Tone: It is very difficult to express tone in writing. You want to come across as respectful, friendly, and approachable. You don't want to sound curt or demanding.
  • Be Concise: Get to the point of your email as quickly as possible, but don't leave out important details that will help your recipient answer your query.
  • Be Professional: This means, stay away from abbreviations and don't use emoticons (those little smiley faces). Don't use a cute or suggestive email address for business communications.
  • Use Correct Spelling and Proper Grammar:Use a dictionary or a spell checker — whichever works better for you. While you can write in a conversational tone (contractions are okay), pay attention to basic rules of grammar.
  • Wait to Fill in the "TO" Email Address: Never fill in the 'TO' email address until you are completely through proofing your email to ensure it is exactly the way that you want it. This will keep you from accidentally sending an email prematurely.

(source http://careerplanning.about.com/od/communication/a/email_tips.htm)

Here are a few more items to remember when writing emails:

  • Keep the subject line clear and on topic
  • Do not write your entire email in the subject line
  • Do not overuse / abuse "reply all" or "cc"

Review your past emails to identify how well you currently adhere to these rules. As you write your next email, review this list to ensure you write an effective, clear and concise email. Avoid misunderstandings, confusion and frustration.

Good Luck!

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