As another year of sending, replying all and forwarding begins, it’s time to reevaluate your approach to your inbox. Here are some simple steps to improving your electronic communication habits.
1) Avoid urgency.
Everyone with an inbox is accustomed to receiving those OMG-I-need-this-ASAP messages, and everyone is tired of them. If it’s urgent, it’s worth a phone call. If it’s not, be sure to include those magical words in your message. There’s no huge rush on this.
2) Send compliments.
All too often, we look at email as a way to accomplish one thing: sending requests. Rather than filling everyone’s inboxes with notes on what you need and when you need it, set a goal to send people something they’ll actually like on a regular basis. A team member did an outstanding job at the weekly meeting? Send them a two-sentence note on how impressed you were with the performance. A client’s organization just made a big announcement on launching a new product? Write a quick congratulations. Use email as a chance to spread some cheer.
Learn: The Psychology Of Effective Email Communication
3) Be upfront.
While a lengthy introduction might win you some literary recognition, the work inbox is no place for a full paragraph lead-in on how you’re feeling that day. Be sure to clearly state why you’re writing near the opening of the message.
Sure, the “sent from my iPhone” might help excuse your typos, but it still isn’t doing you any favors in the eyes of a recipient. Be your own editor, and double check your spelling and punctuation. It’s a simple step that will make you look more organized.
5) Never let frustration out through your fingertips.
Once it’s in writing, it’s never going away. If you’re faced with a tough situation, email is not the channel for venting. Be respectful. Use email as a platform for introducing the need to discuss the issue, and suggest a time for a face-to-face meeting.
6) One email, one idea.
Bullet point lists can feel effective, but the human brain can only remember so much. Rather than listing five ideas and asking everyone on the email chain for feedback, focus on one piece of crucial information you want to communicate.
Looking for help outside of writing your own colleagues and clients? Check out “3 Tips To Improve Your Meeting Email Marketing Communications” to make sure your attendee messaging in on point.