How effective are your e-mail communication skills?

Are your writing skills projecting an image that communicates confidence, consistency and professionalism as you move ahead in your career and develop as a leader? E-mail communication plays a major role in our professional lives. Many of us send and receive hundreds of e-emails daily. As we become taxed with double duty workloads, effective e-mail communication may seem elusive. My colleague Tori Aiello has allowed me to share some of her email tips that will help keep you and your professional image on track. (Some may seem like common sense—but they are good reminders.)

  1. Think before you write: a well thought out e-mail speaks volumes and makes it easier for the recipient to know how to respond.

  2. Proofread e-mails for mistakes before you click send. Sometimes spell check changes a word to one you did not intend.

  3. Don’t include proprietary or inappropriate information in e-mail. It is a permanent record and can be subpoenaed.

  4. Understand the culture of your company. If emoticons are used frequently and expected, use them. If not, skip them altogether.

  5. Use a font and color that communicates professionalism, not your artistic talent. Bright pink script may send the wrong message depending on your company.

  6. Think about who your audience is and tailor the content to them. Keep in mind the tone of your e-mail. Using words like “clearly” and “obviously” may not be the best choices. Skip the text talk.

  7. E-mail is for communicating praise not for telling someone their work was sub par.

  8. Don’t write or respond to an e-mail when you are angry or confrontational—you will regret it. Instead, write the e-mail, put it in your draft box and remember not to fill in the recipient’s name. Delete it 24 hours later.

  9. Don’t copy or reply all on every e-mail. Ask the sender if you can forward an e-mail before doing so; don’t assume they want the e-mail to be forwarded. There may be a chain of communication that is not meant for everyone to see.

  10. Be clear, concise and polite in all your communication. It is courteous to including the person’s name at the beginning and to sign off with a pleasant closing. Everyone loves to hear and see his or her name.

Let me know if you have any tips of your own that I can include on my blog. I’d love to hear from you!


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Margaret Batting - Professional Development Consultant, Executive Coach, Brand Strategist and Keynote Speaker, Servicing Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Beyond
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