Several years ago, Ray Tomlinson died at the age of seventy-four. Forty-five years earlier, Mr. Tomlinson sent the world’s first email, bringing about a communication revolution. In the decades that followed, email’s prevalence in our lives has soared to such an extent that if all of the world’s emails were to be printed and stacked up at the end of a work day, this pile would reach the moon.
But the problem is: it would be a really, really stinky pile. Luckily, this blog post will help ensure that your contribution to the pile is as good as gold!
1. Know your subject line.
Firing off a quick email makes sense if you are sending your colleague something they are already expecting, but, for the most part, hurried is not the best approach. Email is meant to be a form of communication. And effective communication takes time. It takes time to put your thoughts together in order to communicate the message in a clear way. If there is something you need, tell it upfront. If your email communicates one big idea, ensure it really communicates one rather than a few big ideas. Subject lines are a great way to get to the point. One way to craft an efficient subject line is to begin it with a keyword that conveys the email’s objective followed with a short description and the level of urgency. An example could be, “Feedback: Survey Draft. Need Input by Friday.”
2. Be short and get visual.
While it’s important to take some time to consider your subject, we do not encourage you to use email to channel the budding littérateur within you. If you tend to spend a few paragraphs warming up to the main point, please know that your receiver’s attention span is likely less than that of a goldfish. If your email needs to be several significant paragraphs long, then consider having the conversation over the phone. If phone conversation is off the table, ensure you get visual and avoid blocks of monotone text. Break your information into short paragraphs, use numbers or bullets for lists and bold the name of anyone you address directly.
3. Get the tone right.
When we communicate, we should get both information and affect across. One big common mistake is thinking that the tone to the message we cultivated in our mind magically attaches to the words we type. The truth is that electronic communication flattens everything and unless we consciously communicate the affect, it will stay trapped in our mind. An exclamation point, for example, can make a multitude of differences between an “Okay” that utterly discourages you and an “Okay!” that motivates you further. Depending on the relationship you have with the receiver, you can consider adding emojis to additionally extend your communication toolkit. But remember — no amount of exclamation points or emojis is ever an excuse for sloppy text.
And whenever possible, end your email with some of the most wonderful phrases out there: “No rush.”, and “For your information, only. No action necessary.”
There’s no doubt that email has made a transformational impact on communication and business worldwide. In recent years, however, it’s also become a popular vehicle for social engineering attacks and other threats. What employee wouldn’t open an attachment that appears to be from their CEO, for instance? Glasswall eliminates the risk of file-based threats from email attachments, ensuring that only safe email attachments enter and exit your organization. With Glasswall Email, every attachment is disarmed of potential threats and delivered instantly.
To read more about how Glasswall protects email, click here.