Many people, unthinkingly, jot out their emails in haste, not realizing that they could be damaging their reputations and careers by ineffectively, or rudely, communicating with colleagues.
Here are four tips to avoid that and ensure that your emails enhance, rather than harm, your career.
1. Delay emails when frustrated or angry. Many of us do just the opposite: we receive an email that appears to criticize us or demean an accomplishment and we angrily dash off a snarky email in response. In fact, many of these situations would be best handled with a face-to-face conversation but, if you must reply by email, take some time to calm down and relax, write a brief email, and perhaps even suggest a meeting in person to discuss the issue in more detail.
2. Send email only to the individuals who really need to receive it. We've all been on the receiving end of email strings that go to large groups and are largely irrelevant to the majority of people who are cc:d. Don't be like this; it only annoys colleagues. Be sure to send your emails only to those most impacted by your email.
3. Be clear about the focus of your email. Write a clear, brief, and specific message in the subject line of your email. This will help your readers understand the content and priority of your message.
4. Write brief messages. An email should not be a lengthy report. It should, in fact, be brief and to the point. "I am working on A, B, and C", for example, or "Our priorities for the week should be X, Y, and Z." Use short, concise, and clear statements for your readers and use language that appears courteous, rather than curt and rude.
Focusing on these four tips will increase your effectiveness when communicating by email.