880 words
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Email is not going to disappear.  Possibly ever.  Until the robots kill us all.

Paul Buchheit

Have you ever accidentally sent an email to the wrong recipient?  Forget to proofread an email before clicking send? Have an email that doesn’t reach your target?

Communication is one of the most important skills of effective business management…and like it or not (and many do not!), today’s business communication is centered around email. We use email to seek employment, collaborate with colleagues, and communicate with our employees…so it is important that we have strategies to assure that your emails get YOUR point across. Here are some simple tips to help you step up your email game:

Taboo #1: Choose your format wisely.  Sending a document through email? Be sure to give some thought to who is receiving the attachment…and what you want them to do (or not do) with it.  Recently, I was reviewing applications for an open position within my organization. I opened one of the resumes (which was sent in Microsoft Word format), and noticed that the applicant had forgotten to remove some of their internal comments (that had been added in the proofreading process, I assume). So, there it was…a comment to remind the applicant to “change recipient” in the margins. Innocent mistake…but doesn’t really provide the “I am a detail-oriented person” impression that was intended. Did I mention that this was a technology position? Needless to say, they didn’t get the job.  Enter the PDF.

Taboo #2: No take-backs! We have all done it…and have been embarrassed by it.  You compose an email to a colleague, and before you finish the email, you inadvertently click send. You gasp, you cringe, and then have to take the “click of shame” by following up your email with an apology and correction. Again…innocent mistake, but it doesn’t scream professionalism to your recipient (especially if your incomplete email wasn’t proofread). 

Taboo #3: Don’t feed the filter…  A spam/junk filter can be an emailer’s best friend if it keeps junk out of view…or our worst enemy if it mistakenly catches important messages. Although there are a number of factors that spam filters use to determine what you should and should not see in your inbox, one of those factors is the presence or type of attachment in the email. So, you might be sending important information to your colleague, but their spam filter thinks that you are spreading viruses and quarantine your message.

Give these tips a shot, and hopefully your emails are able to communicate YOUR message effectively!

By Brian H. Jackson, PhD, Associate Professor, Pacific University, Oregon

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