March 22, 2012

Four email faux pas to avoid

Title slide bg wide
For a small business, email definitely takes the cake as the most important part of communication -- it's done every single day, and it's often one's lifeline. So making sure it's done with everyone in mind is equally as important. Take heed of the following, and you'll be all right.

What's the point? Put the most important features at the top. In journalism, there's an inverted pyramid structure that professors beat into students very early on. Writing in an inverted pyramid structure puts all of the important information at the top, making it easy for the reader to get a sense of what you're writing about. More importantly, the reader may not have the time to read the whole thing right then and there. So having all the info available right away not only makes your emails easier to read, it'll save time. Time is money, as they say.

What's the subject? Step 1: always include a subject. Step 2: make it descriptive. Step 3: people will be grateful.

Not responding inline. Replying to questions inline -- especially in a really long thread -- keeps the mess level to a minimum and everybody informed as to whom you're replying.

Not changing the subject when needed. If the email thread gets long enough the topics will deviate from the original, that's a fact. So changing the subject to match the current topic isn't a bad idea. As stated above, the topic in the body of the email and the subject need to match. Anything otherwise may just waste the time of a recipient who couldn't care less about the subject.

CBS News