In our time and age, email is one of the most commonly used mode of communication especially with businesses. Almost everyone uses email which easily outruns traditional mail and phone calls. Email mechanics are learned by most people as soon as they gain access to the internet. However, majority NEVER receive any instruction on how to effectively use or manage their email.
With regard to your next email, should you really be sending that out? How do you know? Andy Kaufman, the Director of the Institute for Leadership Excellence and Development, is the author of “How to Organize Your Inbox and Get Rid of E-Mail Clutter”. He introduced the “Five Key Questions”. Let’s go through them briefly.
5 Key Questions to Ask before Sending That Next Email Message
- Does this really need to be communicated?
There is a lot of unnecessary “stuff” out there – jokes, virus hoaxes, and urban legends – sent by friends within and outside the company- Email message unnecessary for business = do not send it!
- Is e-mail the best way to communicate this message?
Emails definitely save time but isn’t the right medium every time. When emotion or controversy is involved, an email may be misunderstood on the receiving end. Rethink about sending it out. Never inform of poor performance or impart bad news through email. If your message requires immediate feedback, email will not be the best medium, too; and never use email to handle personal issues.
- Who really needs to know this?
Take time to think about who should receive your email message. Do not just click “Reply to All”. If a person does not need to take action but needs to be included in the message, place their name on the “cc” line. If a person does not really need to know, keep their names off the address line entirely.
- What’s the most appropriate content?
Most emails contain too much information. Some recipients tend to scan through long email messages and may miss important information. The Rule of Thumb is if the message takes more than one full screen, it’s too long.
- How can I best help the recipient take action on this?
We’ll use the subject line as an example: Never leave it blank! Use an informative subject that tells the recipient what the message is about (“Company Requirements”, “Article Topics”) It’s also helpful to include needed action at the beginning (“Escalation Required”, “Please Respond”).
So before you send out that next email, go through the questions, first. Communication between yourself and the recipient will be much better.
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