Cara Good

Article Summary:

Follow these tips to make your e-mail communications more effective.

Use e-Mail More Efficiently

E-mail is one of the most ubiquitous business communications tools, yet one of the most poorly executed. Follow these tips to make your e-mail communications more effective.

1. Select your audience
Think about who should receive your message. Use the "cc" - carbon copy - function for those who should be informed about your message but don't need to take action. Don't send every message to every individual working on a project if it isn't pertinent to them.

2. Control your replies
If you receive an e-mail asking you for information that also was sent to others, don't automatically use the "reply all" feature. Chances are, only the author needs the information.

3. Consider your image
Refrain from sending jokes and other trivial e-mails as broadcast messages from your company e-mail account. It lessens the impact of legitimate e-mails you do send.

4. Don't spam
If you regularly send e-mails to a distribution list, give recipients the option to opt out - and respect their requests.

5. Know your purpose
Treat e-mail as any other form of business communications. Although your writing tone can be looser than in a formal memo or report, you still should have a well-defined purpose in mind before sending any e-mail.

6. Define the subject
Treat the subject line as editors treat a headline. It should be provocative and informative.

7. Clearly ask for what you want
Let recipients know what is expected of them. Don't bury a task or information request in the body of the e-mail. Call it out, using bullets or other devices, so recipients can quickly scan the e-mail and understand what to do.

8. Sign it
Make use of the auto-signature function most e-mail systems offer. Include your name, company name, brief company description (no more than five words) and contact information.

9. Consider in-box limitations
Don't send e-mail attachments 1KB or larger.

10. Pick up the phone
Although e-mail is a time-saving and effective communication vehicle, it can't replace actually speaking with another individual. Sometimes, the best way to communicate information that can easily be misconstrued - or when you need to make a personal connection with someone - is to have a good old-fashioned conversation with them.

Cara Good is the co-founder and president of WunderMarx Inc., a fast-growing international public relations, marketing and branding firm representing some of the world's most innovative technologies and ideas. She has been quoted and featured in numerous articles on entrepreneurialism, public relations and marketing, and speaks frequently on these topics. For more information visit www.wundermarx.com

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