Much of my professional career was spent in technology marketing up until a few years ago when I decided to become a Certified Personal Branding Strategist and move into the world of branding. Having worked in a corporate environment with exposure to highly successful individuals, it gave me some unique insights into behavior and actions that got people noticed and ultimately promoted.
Technology has enabled us to communicate globally in a more swift and frequent manner. I recently read on Mashable that 144.8 Billion emails are sent each day. Given this statistic and frequency in which we use email to communicate, many employees overlook their misuse of email and are surprised to learn that it negatively impacts their brand in the workplace.
Here are a few tips you can implement in your email messages that will help you communicate more effectively:
1. You craft a relevant subject line – I’m not suggesting you take creative writing classes and craft an award winning subject line; I’m suggesting that your subject line be relevant to the content of your email. Have you ever received an email with a long chain of responses and by the time it gets to you, the body of the email has nothing to do with the subject line? Also, always always include a subject line! I have recently received emails from individuals who don’t include subject lines. Why is this important? It helps the recipient to prioritize their responses and also helps in searches when they need to go back to reference that particular email request.
2. You highlight next steps – On average, we receive approximately 200-300 emails a day so if you need the recipient to take action, be sure to indicate and highlight action items or next steps.
3. You summarize an email chain – Don’t expect the recipient to read through an email chain and respond accordingly. Take a few minutes to summarize the chain and indicate why you are forwarding it to recipient.
4. You refrain from hitting the “reply all” option – If the content doesn’t apply to everyone on the original email distribution, don’t hit reply all. If you do, it is a complete time waster for all those on the email.
5. You hold off forwarding “sensitive” emails – Before forwarding ANY email, check the content and be sure it doesn’t contain any confidential information or negative comments about a manager, colleague, customer, etc.
6. You spell check – There is a function called “Tools” so be sure to turn on spelling & grammar.
7. You don’t use acronyms – refrain from LOL, LMAO, DL, WTH, etc. Corporate email communications are business related and should be written in a professional and more serious tone rather than an email written to a friend.
8. You don’t reprimand – It’s never OK to blame or reprimand anyone via email. If there is an issue that needs to be addressed, be sure to have a one on one conversation or phone call with that particular person.
I’ve implemented many of the above tips while working in the technology industry and urged my clients to do as well. As a result, their communication skills were noticed by senior management. For more about my work, check out my background here.