You return to your office from an afternoon meeting and decide to check e-mail. You wonder where your day went after spending hours downloading messages, reading some, deleting others, crafting replies and filing those that you want to work on later. Your e-mail box was full when you arrived at work this morning and tomorrow promises to be no different.
What is this e-mail explosion? Was there a point in time when entire world decided to use Internet as their business communication tool of choice? Are there rules for managing these messages and being a professional and polite user of electronic mail? There are, but not everyone has gotten word.
Your e-mail is as much a part of your professional image as clothes you wear, postal letters you write (assuming you still do), greeting on your voice mail and handshake you offer. If you want to impress on every front and build positive business relationships, pay attention to your e-mail and steer clear of these top twelve e-mail mistakes:
1. OMITTING THE SUBJECT LINE. We are way past time when we didn't realize significance of subject line. It makes no sense to send a message that reads "no subject" and seems to be about nothing. Given huge volume of e-mail that each person receives, subject header is essential if you want your message read any time soon. The subject line has become hook.
2. NOT MAKING YOUR SUBJECT LINE MEANINGFUL. Your header should be pertinent to your message, not just "Hi" or "Hello." The recipient is going to decide order in which he reads e-mail based on who sent it and what it is about. Your e-mail will have lots of competition.
3. FAILING TO CHANGE THE HEADER TO CORRESPOND WITH THE SUBJECT. For example, if you are writing your web publisher, your first header may be "Web site content." However, as your site develops and you send more information, label each message for what it is, "contact info," "graphics," or "home page." Don't just hit "reply" every time. Adding more details to header will allow recipient to find a specific document in his/her message folder without having to search every one you sent. Start a new message if you change subject all together.
4. NOT PERSONALIZING YOUR MESSAGE TO THE RECIPIENT. E-mail is informal but it still needs a greeting. Begin with "Dear Mr. Broome," "Dear Jim," "Hello Jim," or just "Jim." Failure to put in person's name can make you and your e-mail seem cold.
5. NOT ACCOUNTING FOR TONE. When you communicate with another person face to face, 93% of message is non-verbal. E-mail has no body language. The reader cannot see your face or hear your tone of voice so chose your words carefully and thoughtfully. Put yourself in other person's place and think how your words may come across in Cyberspace. . 6. FORGETTING TO CHECK FOR SPELLING AND GRAMMAR. In early days of e-mail, someone created notion that this form of communication did not have to be letter perfect. Wrong. It does. It is a representation of you. If you don't check to be sure e-mail is correct, people will question caliber of other work you do. Use proper capitalization and punctuation, and always check your spelling. Remember that your spellchecker will catch misspelled words, but not misused ones. It cannot tell whether you meant to say "from" or "form," "for" or "fro", "he" or "the."