It is an important but sensitive medium of communication. When used properly, it is a very effective tool. But when abused, it could be a nuisance. We can take the following precautions in ensuring that we use this tool effectively.
- Use email for not-too-weighty correspondence. Weightier messages might require a letter or direct conversation.
- Think carefully before responding to mails – particularly negative or emotional messages.
- Write in simple and clear English (or whatever language you happen to write in). You obviously want to pass across a message as quickly as possible. Your recipient should not have to consult a dictionary in order to understand you.
- Do not write in uppercase only. Communicate in normal sentence case.
- Use abbreviations and acronyms sparingly. Unless you are absolutely sure your recipient understands what ‘FAO’ or ‘UNHCR’ stands for, write it out in full.
- Copy only necessary recipients in your mail. Information overload is a modern problem. You don’t want to worsen it.
- Avoid emoticons in business messages. It doesn’t belong there.
- Use a clear and accurate subject line. With 500 messages in her inbox, your recipient needs to know if your mail is worth opening. This is what your subject line is supposed to tell her.
- Proofread what you’ve written carefully. It’s not unusual to find that some spelling or grammatical error has crept in somewhere.
- Fill in the address line last. You don’t want to mistakenly send an incomplete or poorly written mail to a busy prospective client. It tells him you are disorganized.