How To Avoid E-mail Blunders
By Bruce Johnstone, Director Of The Business Growth & Development Programme At Cranfield School Of Management
E-mail was born 30 years ago when the SMTP protocol was published, and it quickly became the dominate medium of business communication.
Now only the more mature of us can remember how offices used to work without e-mail - the office memos, telex machines, telegrams, and typing pools of stenographers.
E-mail changed all that. We now have a powerful instant means of communication at our fingertips. However the demise of the typing pool means there is nobody to protect us from committing these common e-mail blunders.
If you find yourself writing an angry e-mail, resist the urge to send it immediately. A good tip is to leave it in your drafts folder overnight and take a look at it again in the morning. By then you will have calmed down and may realise the language is a bit strong. Remember, you can express concern by politely asking for an explanation, express disapproval by saying you are ‘surprised’ and use the word ‘disappointed’ for strong disapproval.
It is a good idea to write the body of your e-mail first and only add recipients in the TO, CC and BCC fields when your message is ready to send. This avoids the danger of accidently sending a half-written message.
Forgetting CC etiquette
Get into the habit of checking who the recipients are going to be when you hit Reply to All. Make sure you are not clogging your colleagues’ in-boxes with e-mails they don’t need to read. Also make sure you DO always CC them if they are mentioned in the message, or if they must act on the information, or otherwise need to know about it.
Forgetting to be polite
A little politeness goes a long way. Start an e-mail... continued on page two >