Sunday, April 23, 2006

Clear communication never gets old - effective email

Andy Monfried just wrote a great piece on the rise of email as the primary communication tool for both clients and co-workers. His piece has inspired me to write about internal email etiquette ~ effective emailing.

  1. Clear Subject Line - I can't count how many emails I receive that don't have a clear subject line. If a critical decision is needed put that in the subject line. In the world of 200-500 emails a day, you need to stand out. Don't be scared to change a bad subject line - sometimes you're on an email that's been forwarded across multiple parties - change the subject line if it's not clear. Break the chain.
  2. Know the difference between CC and To - The general rule I follow is that if a person needs to read or make a decision or give input they belong on the To line. If it's just copying a person's boss or making sure you're keeping someone in the loop CC them.
  3. Never use BCC - Why? For a few reasons. First, I can easily count on my hand the number of times the BCC'd party hits reply to all. Who looks dumb now? Second, it's a weak way to try and get action from another party. How is that BCC'd person going to do something? They'll look like a mind reader or just micromanaging manager. If you need to get someone looped in so they can take action, CC them. IF you must BCC - I suggest you don't, just go to your sent folder and forward the email with your comments to the BCC party.
  4. Prioritize your inbox - My company uses Outlook (I assume like everyone else's company) and I use all different types of rules. Certain emails that I never have to read get sorted away automatically. These may get read on the plane. Is there someone (your boss) who's email is critical? Have Outlook pop up an alert window. Color code emails. There are plenty of tricks, customize them to fit your exact needs.
If you have any tips or comments please share them.

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