Overview – Email
Email is one of the most widely used forms of business communication. However, the ready availability of mailing lists and use of ‘reply all’ can result in employees receiving unwanted or irrelevant information. This can be distracting and contribute to a feeling of ‘information overload’. Guidelines and protocols for email use are beneficial in improving the effectiveness of this communication tactic.
Email is best used for one-to-one or one-to-few messaging. Multiple, uncoordinated mass internal emails from different parts of the business such as; planned outages from IT, product information updates from Marketing etc. can add up to an incredible flood of uncoordinated information hitting employee inboxes. Consider consolidating these types of mass communication into a single email communication (or use another communication tactic entirely).
This tactic is useful for:
✓ Communicating factual information quickly, inexpensively, easily and directly.
✓ Generating dialogue when personal interaction is not possible due to distance, unavailability or time differences.
✓ Sending a single message to several recipients at different locations and in different time-zones.
Things to consider:
⇒ Ensure the topic is appropriate for email. If the information is confidential or highly sensitive, consider telephoning or mailing a hard copy.
⇒ Watch language tone in an email. The absence of non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions and intonation, may cause the reader to misinterpret some words creating the possibility of miscommunication.
⇒ Use the Subject line as a ‘headline’ to capture the reader’s attention and persuade them to open and read your email.
⇒ Communicate the most salient facts in your first paragraph. Provide details to support, explain or illustrate your point in subsequent sentences.
⇒ Consolidate multiple emails into a single e-zine for mass distribution where appropriate.
⇒ Post large files on the intranet instead of attaching to emails. Only email the intranet link to recipients. This reduces network demand.
⇒ Consider using alternative tactics such as social media.
Establish clear guidelines, protocols and policies for email usage to improve its effectiveness as a communication tactic. For example, protocols for email formats might include the requisite writing of an informative subject header and identifier tags such as: For Your Information; For Your Action; For Your Input. Such protocols improve relevancy. They ensure the recipient knows what is expected of them without having to open the email.