As you know, the primary mode of communication between many coworkers, particularly within offices, is e-mail. Convenient? Most definitely. Personal? Not quite.
Yes, e-mail has its advantages and disadvantages. For that reason, there is a time to send e-mail and a time to schedule a face-to-face or phone meeting. If your message could be easily misunderstood because it’s complicated or intended to be sarcastic, schedule a meeting or make a phone call. I’d also recommend a meeting if you’re about to share unpleasant news, provide significant constructive criticism, and when you need an immediate response.
For the many occasions e-mail is appropriate, apply the following e-mail guidelines:
- Utilize the e-mail address issued by your company (ShannonCarollo@Worksite.com) or an alternative professional-sounding e-mail address (ShannonCarollo@domain.com). Please don’t present yourself as unprofessional with addresses such as “ShannonNeedsChocolate@domain.com” or “DontMessWithShannon@domain.com”. Got it? Good.
- Provide a descriptive, straightforward e-mail subject in the subject line of each sent e-mail. It will save your coworkers’ time as they sort through their inboxes.
- Workplace e-mail conversations, particularly with supervisors, are not the place for casual writing. “Good morning,” is much preferred to “Hey Doug.” and full sentences should be written instead of incomplete thoughts.
- Respond to your supervisor’s and coworker’s e-mails as quickly as possible. A response can be an answer to a question, or simply an “Ok, thank you.” to let the sender know you received the message.
- Avoid typing in all capital letters, as words in “all caps” are equated with yelling.
- Do not use the “reply all” feature when responding to an e-mail, unless the information you are sending is important for all recipients to read.
- Choose your e-mail signature with care. Your “signature” is a brief block of text automatically inserted at the end of your e-mail’s. Your signature should contain your name, title, contact information, and a website URL if applicable. The information should be useful for recipients to read, but not distracting with unprofessional spelling errors and childish clip art.
- Consider all e-mail conversations as potential public record. Never write what you would not want read by the general public.
- Proofread the content for spelling and grammatical errors before sending the message. If you are blind or visually impaired and using a screen reader, I’d recommend asking a sighted individual (who has mastered homophones such as two, to and too) for a quick review.
- Don’t be quick to hit send. Read and reread your message to check for clarity; ask a friend, family member, or coworker to proofread an important message; and (particularly if you wrote the message while upset) ensure you’re emotionally cooled off before sending irrevocable words.
You’re a professional. Don’t let your e-mail messages portray you otherwise. Be on the lookout for a new curriculum from CareerConnect regarding maintaining and advancing in your career. The curriculum will have information and counsel such as this blog post for employees who are blind or visually impaired.