Browsing the Web (as I usually do most Sunday nights deciding what to write about for my Monday Special) I tripped over the site “Slacker Manager” and immediately liked it! The post from Slacker Manager Phil Gerbyshak that caught my eye was one on writing effective emails. Here is an exerpt:
1) Use the subject line in your e-mail for initial clarity and add as much information as you can without making it too long.
Example: Subject: Need your answer by Tuesday March 1st at 3 PM
2) Consistently use the To line for all those who you require a response from, and put those who need the information but don’t need to respond, in the CC line.
Example: If you want a response from John, Jane and Sam, but you want to make sure Sally and Tom know the information, you put John, Jane and Sam in the To line, and Sally and Tom on the CC line. Simple, huh?
3) State the main point in the first sentence of the e-mail so folks don’t have to guess what you’re trying to say.
Example: We have 2 options for a meeting date: Friday March 5th at 3:00 PM or Monday March 7th at 10 AM. Please respond with your preference by Tuesday March 1st at 3 PM.”
These are the bare bones, so visit his site for the rest of the article and many more great topics.
I would add these ideas to his list:
Use the high importance flag sparingly.
Do not use the bcc. I think it’s sneaky and rarely warranted. If you want to share something with someone, add them to the cc.
Don’t ever say anything in an email that would embarrass you if your Mom read it, or could get you fired if your Boss read it. Remember, email is forever.
NOTE: Slacker Manager does not seem to be publishing as of November 2009, but the linke to b5media above is still active.