Email is a powerful tool when used the right way in the office. A tool is only as good as the user and when used right, email can be a very effective tool. Sometimes people can make mistakes in their communication without realizing it, and email is no exception.
Mistake #1: Mysterious Headings
When writing an email the heading must be as informative as possible to ensure that the person receiving it can give it the appropriate attention. A vague email can go unnoticed and the message is lost especially if it was critical at that moment.
End of Month Management Meeting, 6 April 2015
The bad heading just tells you that there is meeting and fails to capture the attention of the reader appropriately. A good head performs the following
- Informs the reader
- Is complete
- States the main content of the message
Mistake #2: The Blind Copy
Many a time some people will send an email and as they send that email they blind copy whoever they think needs to know. Blind copying is both very unprofessional and very political. Blind copying should not be done, if you want the other person to know then the least you can do is to forward and explain to them what you have sent. Blind copying just shows that you have hidden agendas. The person you are also blind copying will also then wonder if you are not doing the same to them when you send emails to them. Trust is destroyed by doing Blind copying.
Mistake #3: The Cryptic Email Message
The email body is very critical for delivering a message. A cryptic email body can be as follows;
“Just thought, send email to everyone but make sure that they know. Meeting is important and all must attend tomorrow. Hope you get it”
This is not just a cryptic email but also has no respect for the other person. A good email is informative and leaves no room for doubt on the message that is being conveyed. An email such as the one above leaves the reader thinking where will the meeting be, who is everyone, what time should the meeting be held. At the end of the day the person receiving the email is left confused and wondering what is being meant in the message.
Mistake #4: The Silent Attachment
When an attachment is sent on email it must be accompanied by an explanation or message. A silent attachment is one which has no message or is just written FYI. The receiver can find it very disturbing or can just assume something else completely different from what is being meant by the attachment. A good accompanying message can be as follows
Please find attached the risk assessment report for the project “Golden Mile”.
Your comments will be appreciated ”
This is more informative as it at least tells the reader what they have received and the purpose of it. Just attaching documents and not explaining why the documents are attached is not a good communication habit.
Also read 7 Sins of Awful Communication
Mistake #5: Sending message to everyone and yet you want one person to respond
A common mistake is when a person sends an email to everyone but is expecting one person to respond. They then get frustrated why the person they expect to reply is not replying yet they sent the email some time ago. When you want a specific person to reply you must send to that particular person and only cc the people that are relevant for informative purposes or who might take action in case the intended receiver is not online immediately.
Mistake #6: The grammar and sentence structure
Always revise your email so that it is correct in terms of spelling and wording. There are emails which when sent to very sensitive people can be ignored due to their difficultly in reading. Wrong grammar or sentence structure can make an email cryptic or a difficult to read for the receiver and paints a bad picture about the sender.
Mistake #7: Unstructured Compositions
An email is not a report, it is informative way of communicating. When we turn emails to reports it becomes an injustice to the tools of the trade. A report should be an attachment that is sent over an email. Emails must also be structured appropriately and the following rules must be adhered to
- If there is more than one important point then use bullets to get your point across, don’t bury the points within a paragraph
- Don’t write an email which is end to end of the screen such that it feels the whole width of the screen
- If your email is long or explaining something also structure it with appropriate paragraphs which do not mix important point
These are seven easy points to remember about email from which we can avoid making mistakes which will ruin the importance of the messages that one will be trying to communicate. Always take time to revise your message so that it makes sense to you. Remember emails are permanent to some extent and should be quality in their nature.