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Free! "10 Tips for Effective E-mail"


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10 Tips for Effective E-mail

1. Think before you write. Just because you can send information faster than ever before, it doesn’t mean that you should send it. Analyze your readers to make certain that you are sending a message that will be both clear and useful.

2.  Remember that you can always deny that you said it. But if you write it, you may be held accountable for many many moons. You may be surprised to find where your message may end up. (As an example of “What Not To Do” in Ellen Dowling’s Writing Strategies class?)

3.  Keep your message concise. Remember that the view screen in most e-mail programs shows only approximately one half of a hard-copy page. Save longer messages and formal reports for attachments. On the other hand, do not keep your message so short that the reader has no idea what you’re talking about. Include at least a summary (action or information?) in the first paragraph of your message.

4.  Remember that e-mail is not necessarily confidential. Some companies will retain the right to monitor employees’ messages. (Refer to #1 and #2, above.) Don’t send anything you wouldn’t be comfortable seeing published in your company’s newsletter (or your community’s newspaper).

5.  Don’t attempt to “discipline” your readers. It’s unprofessional to lose control in person; to do so in writing usually just makes the situation worse.

6.  Don’t “spam” your readers. Don’t send them unnecessary or frivolous messages. Soon, they’ll quit opening any message from you.

7.  DON’T TYPE IN ALL CAPS!  IT LOOKS LIKE YOU’RE YELLING AT THE READERS!  Remember, if you emphasize everything, you will have emphasized nothing.

8.  don’t type in all lower case.  (unless you’re e.e. cummings.)  if you violate the rules of english grammar and usage, you make it difficult for the reader to read.

9.  Use the “Subject” line to get the readers’ attention.  Replace vague lines (“Information on XYZ Project,” or “Status Report Q1”) with better “hooks”:  “Need your input on Tralfamadore Project,” or  “Analysis of recent problems with the new Veeblefetzer.”

10.  Take the time to poofread your document before you sent it.  Rub the document thru the spell checker and/or the grammer checker.  Even simpl tipos will make you look sloppie and damage you’re proffessional credubility.

[Note: The article above is an excerpt from the training program,
Writing Basics.]