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HOME::Email Strategies

Top 7 Ways To Use Email Effectively

By John Dini

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Email can be a great boom or a terrible waste of time. As a communications tool, it is both incredibly efficient and dangerously quick.

Consider posting some rules for email behavior in your company. Among the best are:

  1. State your emotional state.

    If you are communicating while angry, depressed or jovial - say so. Don't leave the recipient guessing when interpreting your remarks.

  2. Sleep on it.

    If an email angers you, don't answer it right away. Email sent in a huff frequently sounds too harsh and fails to make its point well.

  3. Remember high school English class: Email is business correspondence.

    While there was a brief period when email was an informal and open format medium, it is now expected to conform to normal standards for professional correspondence. That includes:

    • Spell-checking

    • Normal capitalization and punctuation (never ALL CAPS)

    • Appropriate sentence structure (don't connect everything...with dots!)

    • Limit creative and phonetic spellings

  4. Email is information, not influence.

    Use your email for the distribution of facts. If you want to discuss someone's actions or behavior, pick up the telephone. (Hint: Learn to regard the word "should" as a red flag.)

  5. Limit distribution.

    It is easy to send to a whole address group when only three people need to see something or to cc: other departments who "might be involved down the road." Too broad distribution wastes time and creates confusion.

  6. Don't do or say anything that you wouldn't in person.

    Remember: criticize in private, praise in public. Only hit "reply all" if you are going to praise and support the sender.

  7. Think "narrow pipe."

    You may be receiving your email via a high-speed connection, but others are at home or on the road using slow analog lines. Consider them when sending that humorous video clip or those terrific baby pictures. Bringing someone's email to a shuddering halt doesn't win any friends.

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Article Submitted On: January 08, 2001