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6 Tips for Effective E-mails

     6 Tips for Making Sure Your Emails are Read AND Understood

Email is a fast, efficient method for communicating, yet it has its pitfalls. People are bombarded with so much information that they are naturally looking for shortcuts, which can cause confusion, frustration, and lack of understanding. Here are 6 tips for avoiding those pitfalls:

1. Keep it VERY short – People receive so many emails on a daily basis that they’ve taken to “skimming” to get to the good stuff. Don’t say “blah, blah, blah, blah” when just “blah” will do. Get to the point and give them very little to skim.

2. Be VERY clear – Get in the habit of reading through your emails BEFORE you send them. By being sure that you understand the content, the recipient is more likely to understand it as well.

3. Put your Key Point in the Subject line – It should “entice” the recipient to “read on.” Resist the temptation to build up to a conclusion when you write. Again, get to the point right up front and the reader will have an easier time understanding the reason for your email. Don’t be afraid to go into detail in the Subject line.

4. Include only One Task per email…or number the list – Assigning one task per email increases the likelihood that your recipient will respond appropriately. If you require your recipient to take multiple actions, assign a number to each task, i.e. “Please respond with the following: 1.Your contact info 2. The best time to reach you.”

5. Mind your cc’s – If you are sending an email to multiple recipients remember they can see the “cc” list. Use “bc” when appropriate. If it requires them to take action, be very clear as to who is to do what. When you send to more than one person, one recipient can assume the other recipient(s) will respond.

6. Do not argue or imply – It is very easy to misunderstand others and be misunderstood when communicating via email. If you sense that a recipient doesn’t understand or is getting emotional about an email, do yourself a favor and pick up the phone. Many times you can avoid needless conflict and get things done faster a phone call.