Professionals are busier than ever and frequently responding to emails on smartphones, so it’s critical to take a minute before hitting “send,” and evaluate the effectiveness of the email you’re sending.
Elizabeth Danziger, founder of Worktalk Communications Consulting, addressed this at my monthly Provisors networking event. She cautioned that unclear writing and typos can easily lead to loss of productivity, damaged relationships, and even loss of profits.
To implement an email best practices program, Ms. Danziger suggests the following:
- Keep in mind the three P’s: Purpose, Person and Point. What is the purpose of your email? Structure your email so that it’s clear what message you want to get across. Consider the person you’re sending it to, and tailor your subject line so that it will trigger their interest. Get to the point of the email quickly without coming across as brusque; a greeting such as “Dear John” and “Hope all is well” can go a long way.
- Emails and texts are public documents. Don’t email/text anything you wouldn’t be okay seeing on the front page of the Wall Street Journal (learn from Goldman Sachs!).
- Proofread everything carefully. Read your email aloud and don’t rely on spellcheck. This is particularly important with the “autocorrect” feature on phones. You may have spelled the word correctly, but your phone revises to an incorrect and often embarrassing word.
- Sending to the wrong person/hitting “reply all.” Because many email programs guess the address you’re sending to, it’s easy to hit the wrong email and carry on. Do you really want the wrong client receiving another client’s email, especially if it’s privileged information? Take a moment and review the email recipient and make sure it is going to whom it is intended.
- Don’t write in haste. Most of us take the time to re-read an important email, e.g., quoting rates or sending a proposal, but even the most straightforward emails with a typo can be damaging. If you don’t have time when you receive the email to give it your full attention, simply respond to the recipient to acknowledge you received it but will get back to them within the hour.
- Don’t write when you’re upset. If you send an “angry” email, ultimately you’ll probably regret sending it and spend even more time making reparations for what you said.
- Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone. If the email requires an immediate response or you’ve exchanged 20 emails and haven’t come to a conclusion, just pick up the phone! The other person will appreciate that you’re taking the initiative to get the topic resolved.
– By Berbay Senior Account Manager Beth Miller