How To Improve Your Email Etiquette and Efficiency
Professionals in nearly every industry work with email.
Here is one impression email statistic:
Most of the world's email traffic comes from the corporate world. In 2012, the number of businesses emails sent and received per day total 89 billion. This figure is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 13% over the next four years, reaching over 143 billion by year-end 2016.
As you can see, email has become one of the main forms of communication throughout the world. This is especially true in the corporate world.
At Design & Construct, we work with email all the time with jobseekers and employers, but we also see how firms in the design and construction industry use email. It's a continuous form of communication.
With all this email going out each day there is very much in terms of inefficiencies and incorrect etiquette.
Basic Email Etiquette Rules
Some of these rules may seem basic, but if you participate in email communication in your office you know that these rules are commonly broken.
ALL CAPS: Turn off the caps lock when writing email. People still view this as shouting. It can be off putting and a sign of disrespect. A word in all caps is also not the proper way to show the importance of a specific word. Use bold and italic markup for emphasis.
Greeting and Signature: Just like writing a written letter, a greeting and signature are appropriate for all email correspondence. Even when writing a regular contact use a greeting and signature to open and close the message. It gives a clear beginning and ending point.
Short Text Blocks: It's best to keep email messages brief whenever possible, but if you must write long messages do your best to write in short text blocks. This will make it easier for recipients to read the material. Use headings to break up sections. It will be easier for the recipient to reference specific sections after the first reading. Also use a summary or bullet list overview when writing large messages.
Email Efficiency Tips
Many professionals receive over a hundred email messages each day. It can be difficult, if not impossible, to review everything in detail.
These efficiency tips will help you and those that receive your messages.
Descriptive Subject Lines: Many people sort emails by folders, but when it comes to finding a certain message quickly it's common to use search. A descriptive subject line can make it much easier to find emails you've sent and received. For example, if your message regards a certain company then write your email with this format: [Company Name]: [Main Topic][Secondary Topic]
Forwarding and CC: Forwarding email is almost never necessary. In most instances, you'll simply be adding another message that your recipient won't have time to read. Forwarding and Carbon Copying (CCing) are often done to show someone, such as a boss, that an email has been sent. Instead, try sending a daily recap of these emails. It cuts down on the email your coworkers receive.
Summary Emails: Often, people will go back and forth in email conversations discussing important topics. By the time the discussion is over the entire thread will need to be used for months as a reference point. Save time for yourself by writing a summary email of the thread. It will take some time to do upfront, but will save you time when you and your coworkers need reference.
These tips should help you make better use of professional email.
As email use increases these tips will help keep you sane.