While it may seem old school, email remains the most popular form of business communication. Remember these tips to keep your messages clear
BY MARY BEST
I know, I know, in the days of social media, email seems so 20 years ago, but like the rest of the world, mattress retailers have become so dependent on online correspondence that it’s hard to remember a time when it wasn’t the most common form of business communication. According to the Radicati Group, more than 294 billion emails are sent and received each day. So while you’re firing off a multitude of messages in rapid secession, take a few seconds to check yourself before you hit “Send.” It may save you from embarrassment and lots of misunderstandings.
1 Subject matter:
Give people a heads up about the purpose of your email by including an accurate description in the subject line.
2 Short and sweet:
The likelihood of your email being read and responded to is exponentially greater if you keep your message clear and succinct. Stick to the point and don’t overwrite. Keep sentences simple and avoid writing more than about two paragraphs. Write in active voice. (“The president received the report” rather than “The report was received by the president.”) Remember the point of an email is to relay information, not be a sequel to the Harry Potter series.
3 Keyboard courage:
Email often gives people a false sense of confidence and entices them to write comments they would never dream of uttering. Don’t write anything in an email that you wouldn’t say to the person’s face. The same applies to anyone you mention in a message. Don’t forward jokes or messages that could be considered offensive. Forwarding this kind of material is inappropriate. Even worse, what one person finds funny actually may be restricted by company policy.
4 Up for review:
Sloppy and poorly written emails that are riddled with mistakes reflect badly on your store and make you appear unprofessional and someone not to be taken seriously. Before you hit “Send,” run spell check and re-read your message. Check for typos, missing words and unclear sentences. Make sure you have actually written what you think you have.
5 Other end of the line:
Obviously, when you write an email, the subject matter is forefront in your mind. But more than likely, the recipient is not thinking about the same topic; in fact, you have no idea what that person is thinking about, doing, where she is or what kind of mood she’s in when she opens your email. Be mindful that email takes away the personal clues you usually pick up on when you’re talking to someone. Keep your tone neutral and avoid anything that could be misinterpreted. What you might think is witty can be entirely misread.