You’ve Got Mail!

I remember working at Saba Agency back in the day….Before, and during the birth of email—when “emails” were spelled “e-mails”, online was “on-line” and every website domain name was preceded by “http://” Ahh….those were the days. Now we could email print files to the printer and website proofs to our web clients. We thought emailing would lighten our load, speed up our productivity and give us a chance to sit back at our desk, sipping our Folgers and contemplating the cracks in the ceiling. Au contraire my friend.

Email messaging now exceeds telephone traffic and is the dominant form of business communication. For some workers, it consumes half of their day. A recent Wall Street Journal report indicates that soon employees will spend three to four hours a day on e-mail.While emailing does speed things up, it can also get us into trouble if we’re not careful. There are professional standards, believe it or not, and it would behoove all of us to sit up and take notice. Here are a few:

Be informal but make it “business informal”. Use traditional spelling, not abbreviations you might use when texting your teenage son. Traditional grammar and punctuation as well. You may have a bff amongst your colleagues, idk, but for the most part, refrain from signing off with gtg, ttfn.

Keep messages brief and to the point. (That’s all I need to say about that).

Be Case-Sensitive. USING ALL CAPS LOOKS AS IF YOU ARE SHOUTING. Unless you are shouting. In which case, I hope you are talking to aforesaid teenage son.

Don’t forget the value of face-to-face or even voice-to-voice communication. E-mail communication isn’t appropriate when sending confusing or emotional messages. If you have a problem with someone, a painful as it may be for you, speak to them directly.

Be extra gracious. While you might be tempted to simply state what you want and press send, be aware that voice inflections and tones are not picked up in emails. If you sound cold and short then the recipient will perceive you as such. Be gracious and quick to say “please” and “thank you”.

For the love of Lucy don’t forward chain letters, junk mails and precious little photos of kittens and hearts with cutesy poems. Not to clients, not to co-workers. Do we really need to go over this?

Use a signature that includes your contact information. Make it easy for people to know who you are, where you work and how to get hold of you.

Yes, emailing has revolutionized our workplace and our lives, whether we like it or not. Let’s use it responsibly.

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