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Creating User-friendly e-mail

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Word Count: 870 (60 characters per line)

Summary: 10 tips to ensure your e-mail messages get read.

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Creating User-Friendly Email

For some people email is a blessing. It is now easier than
ever to communicate with counterparts all over the world at
the speed of light. You can collaborate on projects,
review memos, and send updates all in the stroke of a few
keys. For other people email is a horrible curse. As if
the paper tiger on your desk wasn't bad enough, many people
are drowning in hundreds of emails a day, all urgent, all
needing your immediate action. Here are 10 tips to make
sure the emails you send don't add to your recipientís list
of headaches

1. Greet the recipient in the beginning of your message
and thank them at the end. This will set the tone of your
message. If you were to walk over to someone's cube, the
first thing out of your mouth would not be "Is the report
ready?" More than likely, you would say something like "Hi
Bill. Do you have that report ready?" Show the same courtesy
when you're sending a message.

2. Make the subject line of your message meaningful. The
average manager receives dozens of emails everyday. Make
the subject of your email as meaningful as possible so the
recipient will know if they need to open right away or if it
can wait until after lunch.

3. Mark your message urgent only if it is urgent. We live
in such a fast paced society; it feels like everything is
urgent. But if every email in your box was marked as urgent
how would you know what was really urgent? The last thing
you want is to be labeled as a person who marks all of their
messages as urgent (ever heard of the little boy who cried
wolf:). There are 2 things you can do if you are concerned
about your message being read in a timely basis.
a. If your email service as this capability, place a
return receipt on your message. This way you will
be notified when you letter is open.
b. Write in the subject when you need a response by.
This will help set expectations with your recipient.
Example: West Lake Report: Please Review by 1/27

4. If you have an attachment included in your email,
mention it during the message. This will ensure that your
recipient knows there is an attachment and they should
contact you if they didn't get it.

5. State the purpose of your email in the first couple of
sentences. When people open email, there is only one
thought going through their minds "Do I have to read this
now?" Answer that question for your recipient as early in
the message as possible.

6. Use bullets or numbering in your messages to make them
easier to read. Reading from a computer screen can be
difficult on the eyes. Make this task easier for your
recipient by making ample use of white space. Avoid long,
dense paragraphs.

7. Be wary of the formatting features you use (like bolds,
colors, and underlines), especially if you are sending the
message to someone outside of your company. Many email systems strip messages down to

plain text. If you've sent
a message with a lot of fancy formatting in it, your
recipient may end up with gibberish.

8. Highlight the specific action you want the recipient
to take at the end of your message. Few things are more
frustrating than reading a long email message only to get
to the end and not be clear on what the sender wants from
you.

9. Read your message out loud before you hit the send
button. Keep the tone of your message professional while
at the same time adding bits and pieces of your personality.
Given that deleted emails are never really deleted, never
put something in an email message that you would not want to
see on the Local News. Also, never say anything in an email
message that you would not say to the recipient's face. You
should not hide behind an email to deliver a difficult
message. Pick up the phone.

10. When all else fails, pick up the phone. If you find
yourself exchanging email with a person 3 or 4 times in
order to clear up a single issue, the time had come to pick
up the phone. Email is supposed to make communicating
easier, not more frustrating. It is amazing how a 10-minute
call can clear up the confusion that a 3-page email created.

Bonus Tip
If you have a short message to send, put it in the subject
line, this will completely eliminate the need for the
recipient to open the email.

Example 1: Reminder: Status reports due by 5:00 pm (EOM)
Here EOM means End of Message. Be sure you communicate
that abbreviation to your team before you start using it.
This format is ideal for quick reminders.

Example 2:
MARY // Thanks for the report. It was perfect! // SUE
In this example, the subject line contains the greeting, the
messageArticle Search, and the closing. It is self-contained and its
obvious to the receiver that your total message is in the
subject. This format is great for sending people a quick
Thank You note.

=================================================================
NOTE: The following information must be included if you
reprint this article:

© Copyright 2002 All Rights Reserved. Myrtis Smith is a
personal coach. Her mission is to help people create their
preferred future and have fun doing it. Sign up for her
free newsletter Change Now! at www.premeditatedlife.com
.......because life doesn't just happen!

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Myrtis Smith is a
personal coach. Her mission is to help people create their
preferred future and have fun doing it. Sign up for her
free newsletter Change Now! at www.premeditatedlife.com
.......because life doesn't just happen!



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