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Email - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly!

Email - Fast, easy and easy to misinterpret!

We like email because it's fast, easy and convenient.  It's easy to forget that email provides information to us only in words - reducing the information available to us by an astounding 93% (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Mehrabian).

It's easy to misinterpret the written message because we don't have any of the other cues that help us understand what the other person is saying - tone of voice, physical presence, facial expression, body  language, smell - in short four out of five of our senses that provide us with all information are missing in email.

No wonder it's so eay to misinterpret the email message!

Here are some email tips:

Do

  • Remember that office email is public, not private!
  • Compose a subject line that reflects the email message in a few words
  • Be professional. Check your grammar and spelling.
  • Use the receiver's name in the greeting.
  • Be clear and concise. Brevity is the soul of email wisdom.
  • Write clearly. Remember email is a visual medium. Thus, it is very easy to misinterpret email because it lacks voice, expression and body language cues.
  • Limit your signature line to your name and title.
  • Always double check the distribution list before you send.

Don't

  • Don't send confidential messages without a confidentiality legend.
  • Don't send crude messages, jokes, spam or chain letters. Delete any of these that are sent to you.
  • Do not use slang or idioms.
  • Don't use all capital letters. Writing a message in all capitals looks like yelling.
  • Never send email if you are angry.
  • Don't use email as a substitute for face-to-face conversation.

 

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