Business from home

A Dozen Guidelines For Using E-Mail
Date: Sunday, November 06 @ 17:33:50
Topic E-mail Marketing


"But," you protest, "I erased if after I read it or sent it."
Yet a computer eraser is not like a pencil eraser. Those words
haven't disappeared entirely. Just ask Bill Gates. He thought
that e-mails about his rival Netscape were gone--until government
researchers found them and used them in an antitrust case. My
advice: "Put nothing in e-mail that you wouldn't put on an
Interstate highway billboard."



A Dozen Guidelines For Using E-Mail


Copyright 2005 Bill Lampton Ph.D.
Championship Communication
http://www.championshipcommunication.com/







In most of the seminars I conduct for corporations and
associations, I reserve time to talk about e-mail. Why? Because
e-mail has become one of our most prominent means of internal and
external communication. And guess what. . .our system did not
come with a list of etiquette guidelines. So I offer these
twelve tips:

E-MAIL IS NOT CONFIDENTIAL

"But," you protest, "I erased if after I read it or sent it."
Yet a computer eraser is not like a pencil eraser. Those words
haven't disappeared entirely. Just ask Bill Gates. He thought
that e-mails about his rival Netscape were gone--until government
researchers found them and used them in an antitrust case. My
advice: "Put nothing in e-mail that you wouldn't put on an
Interstate highway billboard."

E-MAIL ISN'T ALWAYS DELIVERED

"Bill," somebody says by phone, "guess you got my e-mail last
week." I say that I didn't. "Now wait. . .it shows up on my
SENT list." Even so, those words never landed on my screen. For
your most vital messages, then, request confirmation of receipt.

HAVE REASONABLE EXPECTATIONS ABOUT REPLIES

Because some associates answer our e-mails within five minutes,
we get spoiled. As a result, when others go a day or two without
writing back, we feel snubbed. Remember, though, that people
attend meetings, have appointments, travel and take days off.
Anticipate the resulting delays.

KEEP THE LANGUAGE INFORMAL

A few months ago I mailed an article to an editor. In the old
style of corresponding, he would have sent a five paragraph
letter to respond. Using e-mail instead, he replied: "Got
everything fine." What an appealing economy of words!

A warning: No sloppiness is allowed. We need to spell correctly
and use acceptable grammar. As the editor illustrated in
responding to me, complete sentences are not required, though.
Agreed?

BE CAREFUL WITH HUMOR OR AVOID IT ENTIRELY

With e-mail, we don't have the advantage of facial expression,
tone of voice or a friendly pat on the back. In person, you can
get a laugh from "Betty, when are you going to learn to type with
both hands?" In print, beware the reaction.

Even the smiley-face sign may not prompt the lighthearted mood
you are trying to create. So when in doubt, leave the humor out.

REPRIMANDS DON'T BELONG on E-MAIL

Reprimands come across much more harshly in print than when
spoken. Often this leads to a war of "nastygrams" (a delightful
term borrowed from a public relations expert).

Unfortunately, for some managers e-mail has created a new channel
for "zapping" employees. Supervisors write what they don't have
the courage to say in person. The cure: Reserve negative
appraisals for face-to-face dialogue.

E-MAIL SHOULD NOT REPLACE CONVERSATION

When e-mail first entered the workplace, this was my biggest
fear. Those staff members who had become invisible by taking
refuge in endless meetings added to their inaccessibility by
resorting to e-mail entirely.

In one large company, the CEO noticed the trend. Wisely, he sent
a notice (by e-mail, I suppose) that beginning the next day no
one could send internal e-mails between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
If they had something to say during that span, they would go find
the target person and tell him or her.

BE DOUBLE-SURE YOU SEND THE E-MAIL TO THE RIGHT PERSON

I failed on this once, so I know the unhappy consequences.
Strange, but when you are writing about someone, they're on your
mind so much that you can inadvertently address the e-mail to
them. As a safeguard, check the recipient's name just before you
hit the SEND button.

TRAIN YOUR EMPLOYEES on E-MAIL POLICIES

It's weird that only one-third of American corporations do that.
Then they wonder why employees play Solitaire, shop and send
lists of jokes. Prevent these time-wasters by giving training
classes and distributing written guidelines. I can help you with
both of these safeguards.

AVOID SPAMMING

Spamming means sending unsolicited, annoying e-mails. I am sure
you don't want to do that. You can get permanently blacklisted
by clients and prospects if you e-mail them without permission.

USE YOUR SIGNATURE TO MAXIMUM ADVANTAGE

For example, mine provides contact information, along with links
to my blog and Web site. Luckily, I have a system --Eudora Pro--
that allows me to use the formal signature or exclude it.

SELECT YOUR E-MAIL TITLE CAREFULLY

The title is the "teaser" that can increase your chances of
readership. Avoid "cutesy" titles that smack of advertising.
Keep your title brief enough to fit the title line.


Try these dozen guidelines for using e-mail. Share them with
your staff and employees. Soon your workplace communication will
improve noticeably.



---




Bill Lampton, Ph.D.-- author of The Complete Communicator: Change
Your Communication, Change Your Life! -- helps organizations
strengthen their communication, motivation, customer service and
sales, through his speeches, seminars, consulting and coaching.
His motto: "Helping You Finish in First Place!" Call him:
770-534-3425. E-mail:
drbill@ChampionshipCommunication.com
Visit his Web site:
http://www.ChampionshipCommunication.com




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