Email is a valuable communication medium both for business and personal use. It places high in the ranks of tools today but mixed with the explosion of the Internet, many people are pretty overwhelmed by it and do not to forget the dreaded Spam.
So how do we make email work for us and not us working for email?
Here are my tips on the dos and don’ts of email.
* Have separate email accounts: one for business related work, a personal account for family, friends and acquaintances, and a third which is a miscellaneous account for which you can use for online subscriptions or where you have concerns about spam.
* Check your emails two or three times during the day to prevent being distracted from priority oriented tasks. If you are in the habit of checking your emails immediately after you login…STOP, this can throw your day off balance.
* Create specific folders for your emails to prevent your Inbox form overflowing. Have several act on folders: priority and non-priority, a reply folder, a miscellaneous folder and other folders specific to your work.
* Some emails should be responded to immediately after reading especially if it takes less than or up to 2 minutes to respond and then toss.
* When sending an email always have a good description in the subject line so the recipient can quickly decide on how to respond or categorize.
* When responding to an email, include and edit the sender’s email to include only important facts, this helps in streamlining the dialogue. This tip comes handy also when you decide to print a hard copy.
* As much as you can help it, avoid sending emails with attachments, as people are very concerned about viruses. Try including all information in the body of the message.
* If you are writing an email that is has a large content, write it in a document program like MS Word and then copy and paste into your email. Imagine losing an email that you have spent some time writing.
* When you are sending emails be very conscious about using Reply to All, cc and Bcc as you want to maintain healthy and integrity filled relationships with people. Do not carelessly send an email to the wrong person!
* The time to respond to an email that upsets you, is not immediately. Sometimes sleeping on it allows you to have a different perspective and the sting of the email is largely reduced.
* Have a concise signature with your name and contact details and remember to also include your website address as well.
* Remember, people first then business; so a kind and personal greeting goes a long way, for example writing in a email “have a great weekend” helps nurture relationships. As does speaking to clients and colleagues on the phone and meeting face to face.