While many today were raised attached to a cell phone and laptop, there are literally millions of otherwise productive people for whom these are still new, mysterious tools. Like anything else, there are proper and improper ways of using them.
Until now, it was an unwritten code.
1. Use appropriate tone: Experts say only 93 per cent of all communication is non-verbal. This may mean your breezy or practical tone may be misunderstood as flippant, impersonal or irreverent. Choose your words carefully.
2. Keep it formal: Use a proper greeting and signature. With email, there tends to be assumed familiarity and casual language which isn’t always appropriate for the workplace. Keep the fo’ shizzles for your homies.
3. Respond Promptly: Is it acceptable to wait before you respond to an email? Yes, though most experts agree it’s courteous to respond within 24 hours. If you don’t have time to pen a proper response, wait until you do. Taking your time will help avoid any careless slip-ups.
4. Remain objective: If you have a tendency to react emotionally, give yourself a cooling-off period before returning to the email. Better yet, follow up in person or with a phone call. Whatever you do, don’t make any personal attacks, lay blame, criticize work habits or make it personal in any way.
5. Lay off the Reply-all: Who likes opening their email to 15 new messages on the same subject? Nobody! 99 per cent of the time, the Reply-All button can be avoided by simply responding to the sender.
6. When it doubt, leave forwarding out: Fowarding jokes is so 1999. If you’re wondering whether or not your friend/colleague/aunt would find the latest Maxine quips funny, the answer is probably no. Press delete instead of forward and get on with the rest of your life.
Email is merely a tool to ease your communication, so use it as such. And some of the best advice we can give? Break out of e-mail jail – talk to your colleagues!