Email is THE medium of communication for business transactions. Unfortunately, people don't treat email with the same care as face to face interactions. It's almost as if we're so complacent with the speed of email that our ability to use it in an effective manner diminishes with every message.
But even with technology, you must maintain approachability. In other words, you must be capable of being reached. So, email is not unlike any other form of communication in that requires consideration for the message, the sender and the receiver. Here are four critical keys for email effectiveness.
Do you check your phone messages every day? Or do you let that blinking red light pulsate out of the corner of your eye for a week before you listen to the recording and call someone back?
Of course you get your phone messages every day! Why wouldn't you? Besides, there's bound to be some important calls on there you'd like to return immediately.
Okay, so let me ask you this: When you're at work, do you look at new papers in your box consistently? Or do you let that bundle of folders, papers and flyers spew out of edge onto the floor?
Of course you check your mail often! You don't want to miss any important dates or notes.
And yet, some people don't check their email every day. Why not?! How is email any less important as a form of communication? There's no reason you should check email with less frequency than any other medium. Even if you don't consider yourself "an email person."
Handle the Overload
Have you ever received an email that bombarded you with seven or eight questions, one after another? Letters like these can be tough to reply to, unless you organize your response. The best way to handle the overload is through the following reply process:
1.Start a blank email, either a reply or a new message.
2.Offer an introductory paragraph that thanks the person for his questions and tells him his answers are listed below.
3.Then go through the body text of the original email and locate each of the questions.
4.Cut, copy and paste each question in the blank space of the new letter as a subheading for your response. (It helps to italicize or bold the original question)
5.Under each question, give your response.
6.Offer a closing paragraph and your signature.
At least two phone numbers
A sentence or two about yourself, your company or your job
Whatever program you use for email - Outlook, Eudora, Yahoo, Hotmail - find out how to customize your signature. There's nothing more frustrating than receiving an email from someone who wants to talk further, get together or have you send them something that doesn't have any personal information in the email. So at the end of every email you send, always cross reference the following information:
Think of it this way: have you EVER received a handwritten letter from someone that had no return address stamped on the envelope?
A final tool that is beginning to surface more and more in the business world is the email introduction. The purpose of an email introduction is to bring together two people you know who:
a) Should meet
b) Have something in common
c) Can help each other
d) All of the above
Because email is simply another medium of communication, you need to approach it as such. So when you type out this letter, think about the things you would say in person if you were introducing two new people.
Some tips for an effective email introduction are:Give a short, few sentence background on each person
Offer your relationship with each person
Provide phone numbers, websites and email addresses
Keep it short, casual and friendly
Stress the idea of "helping each other out"
Here's an example of an effective email introduction:
Dear Wendy and Jamie:
Good morning friends! Scott Ginsberg here, hoping all is going well with you both. I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce the two of you - I think you can help each other.
Jamie...meet my friend Wendy. Wendy owns her own IT consulting company called Computers Are Your Friends, Inc. She mainly works with CIO's of larger firms and speaks to organizations who want to become more efficient with their technology. I had the pleasure of hearing Wendy speak at my Chamber - the audience loved her!
And Wendy...meet my friend Jamie. Jamie coordinates all of the quarterly employee luncheons at SDS Technologies. She is responsible for setting up the speakers for next year and is looking for individuals who would be interested in donating their services. Jamie's company is one of the more well known firms in the area and has helped my business a great deal.
I hope you two can connect! Here is each other's information:
Wendy Brubeck: 314/878-9221
Jamie Greer: 314/275-6556
Have a great week!
that guy with the nametag
Front Porch Productions
P.O. Box 410684
St. Louis, MO 63141
With these four keys, you will be able to more effectively and efficiently use email as a medium of communication. Remember, email is the way to communicate - so be sure to give it the consideration it deserves.
? 2005 All Rights Reserved.
Scott Ginsberg is a professional speaker, "The World's Foremost Expert on Nametags" and the author of HELLO my name is Scott and The Power of Approachability. He helps people MAXIMIZE their approachability and become UNFORGETTABLE communicators - one conversation at a time. For more information contact Front Porch Productions at http://www.hellomynameisscott.com.