Saturday, July 23, 2011

Do and Don’ts of Email


While I am on the email topic from my previous post, I would like to pass on some of the things that made my email in work more effective. You may want to read some of my tips.

Consider Your Subject Line is Being Like a Tweet

Pack in as much useful information in the Subject line. I consider the subject line the Tweet area to contain almost the “body” of the message. This works because most people actually don’t read all email messages. They look at the subject line list and decide whether they will read the message or not.

Start Your Subject Line with the Name of Your Recipient

Again, compare these lines of subjects

1.     “Tonight’s Dinner Plan”
2.     “Want Join us for a dinner?”
3.     “John Let’s Have a Dinner at French Landry at 6”

Which do you think is most effective? To me, it is the third one. If you read the subject line #3, you almost don’t need to read the body of the email. And I know you will click the email to read on.

Start Your Subject Line with a Verb

Your email will be more effective if you start your subject line more in the “Call for Action” style.

Consider the following examples,

1.     “Blood Donation Drive This Afternoon”
2.     “Donate Your Blood This Afternoon!”

Do Not Send Additional Messages in a Quick Succession

My experience is that if you do that the recipients will only read either the first or the last message and they ignore the rest.

Carefully Time When To Send a Message

This is a bit tricky, but you need to know when your recipient will read your email message.  Most people have their email client set so that the most recent one would appear on top and messages are downloaded automatically. They usually scan only the top 10-20 lines of subject lines on their email clients. So if your message does not make it in that top 10 at the time they are reading, then you might as well consider the message lost.

Another strategy is actually just save it in your draft folder, phone call the recipient and then during the conversation mention to the person you have just send an email.

Typical times people read messages include;

The first thing in the morning
During or just after lunch
Just after dinner

You may want to start tracking the most effective time with respect to your important recipients.

Limit The Message Body Size to One Screen

People are busy (even if they really are not) they can only devote about 1 min of their time to read a message. If you wrote a message that do not fit in one screen then they tend stop reading it, moving on to the next one and never come back to your message.

Organize the Email For The Recipient

You have been frustrated with people who repeatedly ask you to send the same email message over and over again. It is not entirely the recipient’s fault; it is that the email is difficult to manage. Over time you will learn who would be asking for repeats, and in that case, make a CC copy of it on your end, put the copy in a folder with the recipient’s name on it. Then you can quickly re-send.

Use The Phone and Voicemail

If you are dealing with some emotional stuff such as one of you being frustrated, angry or extremely happy etc., then call the person up, or at least use the voicemail to leave your live message. Unless you are a NY Times Best Seller author, it is much easier to convey your emotions via voice. Talk to the person live!


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