Action plan for effective and professional email communications
- Who needs to receive this message primarily?
- Who needs to receive the message secondarily as a CC?
- What action do I require on the part of recipient?
- What specifics do I need to include so they are fully informed?
- Why is email the best avenue to exchange information?
- Do I have the correct email address in order that the message can be properly sent?
- What timeframe exists for response?
- Is the email I’m sending being sent in a timely fashion?
All email correspondence should
- Be concise and to the point.
- Clearly indicate what action (if any) that you are expecting: What do I need the recipient to do? Why am I sending this email in the first place?
- Include necessary people who may be involved but not necessarily have an action item to complete.
- Use excellent and appropriate sentence structure, grammar and spelling.
- Include addressing recipients professionally. “Dear Dr. Jones” as opposed to “Hi Joe!”
- Do not employ “cute” fonts, sizes, colors, and background colors. All are distracting.
- Do not “embarrass” someone if they have not responded to you. A simple “did you get my message” is more polite than resending a previously sent email with a terse “did you get this!!” This is especially true if more than one recipient is included. If they respond they did not receive the message, it can always be resent.
- Recognize that just because you hit “send” does not automatically mean that the exchange is going to happen in a timeframe you expect. This is a two-way conversation.
- Respond as efficiently as possible OR send a note to explain why there may be a delay.
Posting on Facebook, Tweeting, or texting would not adhere to many of the items outlined above. Each of these is a completely different medium and should follow the directives of professionalism for that application. For example, on Twitter one MUST be concise; you have so little room to make your message understood. So it is not likely you can be overly verbose even if you wanted to. For Facebook, I believe the rules of professionalism would include tone and content and appropriateness of the message you are posting and who you are posting it to. On Facebook, everyone just about sees everything so I would think professional exchanges on Facebook need to be just that…professional in every way.
Texting by nature seems to me to be very relaxed and social. People text about every little thing, it seems. If texting is a formal way of communicating for a particular business, then messages need to be concise and clear. You need to be available to receive return texts, i.e. don’t turn your phone off. I think there is a distinct difference between email and these other mediums but I think no matter which is being employed, all must be professional in every way when being used for business communications.