Fix These Email Bad Habits for Your Beneficial

March 19, 20158:00 am285 views

We’re facing tons of emails every single day. Fixing bad habits when responding to emails would instantly improve your life and career. Moreover, surrounding people would also have easier life to understand the emails from you.

Often, we are replying emails for granted. In fact, we need to commit to writing better, simpler, clearer emails. The kinds of emails that people actually look forward to read it.

Sending an email is the easiest and least intrusive method for making requests within teams. But it’s precisely because email is so effortless that it can be a complete waste of time. Firing off a vague email that doesn’t clearly tell recipients what they should do or why your command is important will only create more work for everyone.

The most effective emails treat the subject line like a caller ID, and use words that get the point immediately. Here are some tips for word choice that will get your message across clearly and keep you from annoying (or confusing) co-workers:

1. When There Are Tasks to Complete

Don’t Write: Etc.

Do Write: The, This, or These

Yes, the email is following a recent conversation or meeting, it is likely going to get filed as something to do later. However, when the recipient is ready to read it, seeing “Staff meeting follow-up etc.” won’t be helpful. Instead, be clear about what you need and write: “Please resolve these questions from staff meeting” or “The report discussed in staff meeting.” Think of your subject like pre-writing a to-do list item, so it’s easy for that box to get checked.

The key is to be specific!

2. When Sharing Another Email

Don’t Write: “FWD:”

Do Write: Help

Unless you really are sending chain letters at work (seriously, don’t), you’re probably just sharing something that someone else wrote that you want your co-worker to read or do something about. In that case, do her a favour and write, “Could you help me decipher this?” or “Looks like the client needs help.” Sure, you may have planned to write that message in the body of the email, but the subject is a much better place if you want it to get noticed quickly.

3. When You’re Trying to Be Personal

Don’t Write: Hey

Do Write: You

Sending a “Hey” in an email subject line is the same thing as texting “We need to talk” to a friend or someone you’re dating. Don’t do it! You’ll make the recipient suspicious of whatever will come next, and you may end up waiting a while for a response because it may never get opened. Since you might actually need to chat about something personal or private, try “When do you have time for a 15-minute chat?” This approach takes the edge off and puts the power in the recipient’s hands to choose a time that works for him.

4. When You Need it Now

Don’t Write: Urgent

Do Write: Today

When time is short and the pressure is high, “urgent” is a word that can only produce panic. Panicking is the last thing a person responsible for a task should do. If you have enough time to recognize the need and send an email, you also have the time to give advance notice that “This needs to be your first priority today.” If it truly is urgent, make a phone call or in-person visit instead.

5. Put “Thank You” in The End of Every Email

Last but not least, is a phrase that we all say to end our emails but may rarely use to directly address our co-workers: “Thank you.” A short, simple message of appreciation will go a long way in strengthening the bonds between you and your team members. It says that you recognize their efforts and value their roles. And it sure beats a trust fall.

See: Cultural Intelligence @ Work

The original article first appeared on TIME

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