Monday, November 28, 2016

How to send effective work emails

At school, we have been trained to write in a standard form - every piece of writing must contain introduction, body and conclusion. This is one of the knowledge you should return to your teacher. In real working life, time is precious and there is no time for introduction (well, most of the time).

Here is a simple email structure in getting your message across at work:

Determine the purpose of your email
Generally, there are two main reasons why you send out emails. One, is to give instruction. Second, is to give information.

When giving instruction, make sure your instruction clearly stated what you expect to be done. Sometimes email are sent out with unclear instruction and you will leave your recipient wondering what you want. To prevent delay, use plain words such as "Please acknowledge...", "Please advise..." or "Please reply...".

When giving out information, dictate it at the top, such as "FYI", "For your perusal", "Status report for...", so that your recipient can prioritize the importance of his/her email.

Determine who is the recipient

Internal recipient
Skip the greetings and get straight to the point - are you giving an instruction or to give information. However, a classic "hello" and "good morning" will make your email look more polite.

External recipient
If the recipient is an outsider, address the recipient, state which company you are from and what is your role and what is the purpose of your email. Keep it plain and simple.

Summarize your point
Use point form, steps, numbering and short sentences. Anything more than 300 words, you need to have an attachment to get your message across.

Put deadline at the top of your email
The content of your email should rank from most urgent information to least urgent. State your deadline at the top of the email. Example:

Dear Karen,
Please complete the discussed proposal by 2nd February 12:00pm.   
Below are the information to include in your proposal:
1. Target audience2. Mechanism3. Budget 
Call me if you need any clarification. 

Who to Cc. and Bcc.
Cc. stand for carbon copy and Bcc. stands for blind carbon copy. If it is a project work and your team needs to know what is the progress, Cc. all the team player in your email so that they are aware of your communication with others. Bcc. normally used to protect the privacy of the person, such as your boss to protect his/her privacy or when email to mass recipients so that their email won't be abused by data phishers. Use your common sense on when to Cc. and when to use Bcc.

Always prepare your content of the email first, followed by attachment and lastly input the email address to minimize mistakes. Always re-read the email before you hit the send button.

If you need further guidance on the email topic, feel free to drop me an email. 

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