Communication are key in businesses, companies and project management.
And one of the more used tools, at this moment, is email. So it is very important to apply a set of ‘good practices’ in order to improve communications.
Some years ago, I had the opportunity to access the internal ‘communications code’ of a very important, and international, company (I will maintain the confidentiality of the company, of course).
In this and next posts in the blog, I will share with you, some of these rules.
Firs of all, let’s review the proposals of how to use emails in order to have a ‘smart communication’:
- Before writing an email think carefully about who is interested in the content. Keep distribution to a minimum.
- Every email should have a significant subject heading. Also include what is required of the recipient.
- Even with email correspondence, you are not communicating with computers but with people. Therefore, use a correct form of address as well as a form of greeting at the end.
- Keep your message short without being too brief. It is better to use the telephone for complex matters. Avoid unnecessary technical terms. Read through each email before sending it.
- Do you want to avoid making a bad impression? Then refrain from writing emails just in lower-case or upper-case and do not use emoticons. Spaces and puctuation make your message easier to read. Use abbreviations sparingly.
- emails are not a suitable medium to dispel disputes. Always resolve difficult issues in a one-to-one conversation or by phone.
- Spare your counterpart a tedious search by including your address and telephone number in your emails.
- Sensitive information does not belong in an email. Outgoing emails are transmitted via Internet and could be read by unathorized persons.
- Make sparing use of the tools ‘prioritization’, ‘acknowledgment of receipt’ and ‘blid copy’.
- Only send attachements when they are necessary and meaningful. If you reply to or forward an email, only attach the amount of original material required to understand your reply.
- You should reply to emails within 48 hours. If you are absent your counterpart should be informed. Activate your absence agents and enter the relevant information there.
- After a long absence, first read all received emails before answering. One or the other matter may have solved itself. To obtain a better overview, sort incoming mails according to persons.
- You do not have to read every emails as soon as it blinks on your screen. Set yourself a certain time to read and answer your emails.
- Keep in mind that there are cultural differences in the use of the medium. Pick up the phone if your message remains unanswered.
- Retain from printing emails. Store them in files instead. Check regularly what can be deleted. This saves the company money because filed emails take up storage capacity.