Here are a few email tips that cover some of the issues involved in effectively managing email.
- Establish an email policy. Everyone must be accountable for what they write. They need to be aware of such things as libel, and what’s appropriate content.
- Assume your email will be read by others…maybe many others. It is not private. It can easily be forwarded and is easily accessible by your IT department. If you mention a piece of information or a person in your email that would cause conflict or risk, if shared, use another communication medium.
- Don’t be critical in email. And, be very careful about giving corrective feedback through this medium. It inevitably leads to an escalation of conflict. email lends itself better to praise than pique. Research shows that employees prefer to hear bad news in person.
- Recognize that politeness, persuasion and tact are e-mail essentials. Every email is an opportunity to support your existing relationship. It is also an opportunity to damage it. Take care. Compliment, encourage, invite input and ask questions. Don’t tell, unless asked to do so by the sender. Check your assumptions and implications. Any such subtleties jump “off the page” in email.
- Keep your email relatively short and very well structured. People will scroll down but only if it is easy to read.
- Ask yourself if email is the best medium for your message. Actually talking to someone personally might be more appreciated.