What does email etiquette have to do with leadership? It leaves an impression and shows your character.
A 2013 study by Modeuro Consulting found that about 80% of email traffic is considered useless and only about 21.5% of emails get opened.
We get email stress when we are overwhelmed with emails. For example, 34% of workers feel stressed by the sheer number of emails and obligation to respond quickly, and a further 28 % saw them as a source of pressure. The stress to respond to emails has been found to be greater for women than men.
Knowing this, it is important to make the best use of our emails to send clear messages.
- Before writing an email consider the following:
- Why are you sending the email?
- What information does it convey?
- What important dates or deadlines do people need to know?
- What is the bottom line?
- Don’t bury the main point, put it in your subject line. Research by the military on effective writing, found that the biggest issue was failing to convey a focused message quickly. The military uses Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF) as the way to send a clear and concise email by putting the main point upfront.
- Proofread your email. Compose emails the way you would write a letter. Use complete sentences, proper grammar, and check your email for correct punctuation usage and other technical errors. Avoid using jargon, abbreviations, and emoticons. Do not type emails in all capital letters, as this can be considered yelling.
- Be polite and respectful.
- Use professional salutations.: Hello Jim, Hello Sally… Include a signature block. This helps the reader know who is sending the email if the email address is not clear. It also provides additional contact information such as a phone number, and it looks and sounds professional.
- Watch the tone of the email as it can be misinterpreted without visual cues.
- Put the sender’s address in last and check that you are sending it to the correct person.
- Nothing is confidential–so write accordingly. Every electronic message leaves a trail. Write what you will be comfortable having others see.
- Think twice before hitting “Reply all.” If you really think everyone on the list needs to receive the email, then hit “Reply all, “otherwise it clogs the system and is a nuisance to others.
- Consider making a phone call or using face-to-face communication instead of an email to save time.
Consider email etiquette as another way of building your leadership brand.
Can the message be delivered in another way? Consider that 78% of emails are not opened.
Will it accomplish what you want it to?
Do you take the time to consider how the email will be received?
Have you taken the time to write clearly, and greet and sign off?