By JoJo Tabares
People are busier than ever these days, especially small business owners who network! If you don’t make your communication easy to follow, it might not be read at all. Here are a few of the tips on email gathered from my e-Book, Say What You Mean When You’re in Business.
General Rules for Email Groups:
* Always begin a post with a good subject line.
It is important that it is descriptive of what you are going to say. Make sure it is brief and concise. If you are veering off the subject, change the subject line to reflect the new topic.
* If you are answering someone, in particular, add their name to the heading. This gets their attention if they are just skimming their email or posts.
* Delete most of the previous post you are replying to EXCEPT the part to which you are responding. If you leave it all in, it will look too cluttered and might be confusing to weed through. If you delete the entire previous message, the group may not know who or what you are replying to.
* Watch your spelling and grammar!
Email is a pretty forgiving form of communication. Many people use email very effectively without typing in complete sentences, using punctuation, capitalizing or even using proper grammar. This is just fine for your family and friends, but NOT for your customers and business associates. We are not the grammar police, but if your email lacks too much structure, it will be difficult for people to follow and chances are they won’t read it at all.
* Keep your emails short and to the point.
Research has shown that most people don’t like to read long email copy. Most people find the computer screen and the scrolling action of email to be challenging to follow.
* Make paragraphs.
Separate your thoughts so that your emails are easier to read, are easier on the eye and easier to scan. If it is not punctuated with paragraphs, it looks like one big sentence that most will not take the time to read.
* Speaking of punctuation- use some!
I have seen many emails come through all run together looking like one very long sentence! People are in a hurry in this microwave society. That’s why they use email! Don’t make it difficult for your groups to decipher what you mean. If they have to work too hard at an email, the delete button will look good to them, and your message will be lost.
* Read over your email before you hit send.
Make sure that it is easy to understand, follows logically from one thought to another and explains all terms or jargon that others on the list may not be familiar with.
* Try and correct typos before you hit the send button.
Typos can make your email say something you don’t mean or confuse your groups to the point of frustration. If done too often, it can make you appear less than articulate!
* Make sure to sign your emails!
I know this sounds silly, but I have seen emails come through with an email address like… 2345happymom @ zippy.com If you don’t sign your email, it can make it difficult for your group members to respond to you. They may not even know if you are male or female.
* Be careful to word things so that there are no misunderstandings.
Remember that an email is a limited form of communication. Your audience will not be able to see your smiling face, hear your friendly tone or ask for clarification if you say something that could be taken in a bad light. It is very easy to insult if you are not careful to choose the right words.
JoJo Tabares holds a degree in Speech Communication, but it is her humorous approach to communication skills which has made her a highly sought-after Christian speaker and writer. Her articles appear in homeschool publications, such as Homeschool Enrichment Magazine and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, which also endorses her Say What You Mean curricula. You can also find JoJo on websites such as Crosswalk.com and Dr.Laura.com. For more information on communication FUNdamentals and Christian-based communication skills for the whole family, please visit http://www.ArtofEloquence.com