By Stuart Clapp, Inside Sales Rep, PSA Security Network
It’s a new year, which for many of us means a fresh start and an opportunity to grow, improve and excel. It’s time to reflect on what you did right and learn from what you did wrong. It’s also time to clean out that Inbox. No really, clear that junk out of there. You’ll feel better, trust me.
Okay, now that that’s done, did you make sure to archive everything before hitting Delete? Of course you did! Haha! I’ll wait while you do a recover.
By now, you have no doubt read articles or have had brief talks about how to manage email and, just as importantly, how to treat email. In this day of social media becoming a primary source of communication, it becomes easy to take a relaxed and casual approach to email, which is not bad in and of itself, but it may not be appropriate for certain business environments.
Group conversations are a great way to quickly inform your team and customers about a new development or the need for more information, but remember that once the meeting is over, it’s time to stop including everyone in any remaining conversation.
This is Part One of what I hope will max out at a three-part installment regarding email etiquette and this one covers the mechanical basics only. Things like style and content will be discussed later. Ready? Here we go:
Use “Reply” to a respond to an email.
Do NOT start another email thread. Imagine you’re in a meeting and you’re talking to Janice about an issue. You ask her a question and she leaves the room, only to show up later to say “Yes.” But to what? Now you have to start the conversation over, which wastes time and causes frustration. Just use Reply. Unless …
Do not “Reply All” unless you actually intend to “Reply All.”
Group conversations are a great way to quickly inform your team and customers about a new development or the need for more information, but remember that once the meeting is over, it’s time to stop including everyone in any remaining conversation. This is when you should start a new email thread.
Create a Signature and use it.
Not everyone knows your first name is Darrell if you have nothing stating so and your email address is firstname.lastname@example.org . So if you’re wondering why no one calls you back, that may be why. Creating a signature that provides vital contact information is an easy way to make sure you can be reached with important questions or info and tells your customer you’re not hiding behind a cloak of anonymity. Include a phone number that stays with your name, and I guarantee you will be contacted more than the person with no name and no number. However …
You’re not a billboard.
Signatures are very useful but they can be misused just as easily. That company logo is pretty, and it’s great that you belong to dozens of organizations, but there’s no need to remind everyone with each reply. Adjust your signature to include the logo in your first email sent, but keep your subsequent replies simple and clean. As more and more people use mobile devices, keeping your email uncluttered will help everyone read what they need and not have to sort through a bunch of code or attachments. Finally …
Don’t get fancy.
Yes, that’s a lovely rose-vine background and I haven’t seen someone use that font in ages, but, I’m just having a really tough time reading that. Let me open Word, copy this email, paste it into Word, remove the background, change the font, and paste it back into an email so I can both read it and reply to it. Easy, right? Yeah. I shouldn’t have to say more, should I?
Talk to your IT team about creating a template for your emails that will help keep conversations clean and neat, and be conscious of how you carry on a conversation. Remember that email is just like a real conversation – face the person with whom you are talking, and don’t involve the whole room unless needed. It will save everyone time and effort. And that whole money thing that results from those.