With the mode of communication constantly evolving, it is imperative to ensure that effective communication is always upheld and sustained to ensure effective communication (Ahola et al, 2014). Communication through e-mails has been an integral part of personal and work related interactions. None the less, the wrong handling of this effective tool causes unnecessary tension, confusion as well as other related negative consequences that affect working professionals and personal relationships. Individuals with access to internet and e-mails receive a large number of messages via emails on a daily basis. These large volumes of messages, individual messages can easily be overlooked and not responded to appropriately. It is hence important to ensure that communication via emails is effectively and ethically done (Derks and Bakker, 2010). This article aims to evaluate how emails can be effective mode of communication.
Effective communication via e-mails
Effective and ethical communication via emails requires some rules and regulations to help master the act. They include the following:
Avoid over communication via emails
With the large volumes of emails being received on a daily basis, it is important that the sender evaluates if it is important to send the email in the first place (Ahola et al, 2014). Emails should aim to send short information and be straight forward. In view of this, if the information to be communicated cannot be kept short and concise, there is no need to hence use this mode of communication. Also, there is the need to avoid sending highly sensitive information or personal information via emails. The chances of emails being forwarded are high especially to unwanted users and hence care should always be taken. Also, whenever possible, bad news should be delivered in person as this helps provide empathy, compassion, sympathy and understanding when the news is delivered. It also helps make amends and provide better clarification when the news or information does not go down too well (Estévez-Mujica and Quintane, 2018).
Making good use of the subject lines when sending emails
The subject line is primarily used to grab attention as well as summarize the information being sent across. As such, an email without a subject line can easily be overlooked or considered a spam. Constructing a subject line requires few words that summarizes the entire email to be sent. Subject lines can include dates for emails that are regular such as periodic reports. Also, if a reply is needed for the email being sent, a prompt can be added to the subject line. Effective use of subject lines help delivers important information prior to the receiver opening and reading the email (Ahola et al, 2014).
Email messages should be clear and concise
The sentences constructed should be short and straight to the point. The body of the email must be direct and informative as well as contain all the needed information. It is also important to send separate emails when communicating with a single recipient on different topics or subject matters (Derks and Bakker, 2010). These help make the messages clearer and helps the easy correspondence. Also, it is important to create a balance by ensuring that the recipient is not bombarded with lots of emails. It is therefore, advisable to combine related subjects into a single email. However, there is the need to separate the information by numbering or using bullet points. This helps make the information being sent well understandable and easily digestible by the recipient.
Sending emails require a level of professionalism as well as ethics, values and a level of formality. Informal language should be avoided unless the sender is on a personal term with the recipient. Avoid inappropriate abbreviations as well. Emoticons can also be used for people known on the personal level. A suitable subscription should be used to end the message. It is imperative to be polite so that there will be no embarrassment if the email is forwarded or printed and shared to others (Estévez-Mujica and Quintane, 2018).
Checking the tone
When sending emails, it is important to send that as if one is having a face-to-face meeting with the recipient. Since emails devoid the sender the ability to assess the recipient’s body language, vocal tone and facial expression, the tone of the message can easily complement for such losses. The choice of words, length of sentence, punctuation and capitalization of words can easily be misinterpreted without visual and auditory cues (Estévez-Mujica and Quintane, 2018). It is important to therefore be polite and check the tone of the email.
Proofread before sending emails
It is important to review emails for punctuation, spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Emails help maintain an individual’s brand and image (Estévez-Mujica and Quintane, 2018). As such, emails with typographical errors can dent the reputation and image of the sender. Proofreading is an important part of email communication that can significantly contribute to effective communication.
Email as a means of communication can be effective only when it is relevant. Email may be convenient but does not necessarily mean that it is the best means of communication in every situation at the workplace. Before you start writing, ask yourself if it really is necessary and you need to email at all; will a phone call or a face-to-face discussion not suffice.
At London School of Management Education (LSME), we endeavour to support you with the best of training and relevant skills in communication to ensure that you avoid miscommunication by keeping content clear, to be well organised and contextual. Begin your email with a formal salutation, state the purpose of writing and provide a context to why you are writing. Use paragraphs – form a paragraph with related points and change paragraphs to present separate ideas. Close the email by stating the outcome you expect from your message and sign off with a polite greeting and your name. Good email etiquette maintains that you do your best to respond to business communications as soon as possible. When you do not respond promptly, you come across as unorganized and unconcerned. Even if you are not able to attend to an email right away, writing a line back in acknowledgement that you have received it and will attend to it shortly, shows professionalism.
- Ahola K, Hakanen J. Burnout and health. In: Leiter MP, Bakker AB, Maslach C, Editors. Burnout at Work: A psychological perspective. New York: Psychology Press; 2014. pp. 10–31.
- Derks, D, and Bakker, AB (2010). The impact of e-mail communication on organizational life. Cyberpsychology J Psychosoc Res Cybersp. 2010;4(1): Article 1.
- Estévez-Mujica C. P., and Quintane, E (2018) “E-mail communication patterns and job burnout”. Accessed from https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0193966 Accessed on11.2018.