How to Effectively Use Email at Work

Communicating via email has become common practice in business environments. Below are some effective practices to keep in mind as you compose your electronic messages.

  1. While email is fast, it is not instant. If you need an instant response to your query, email is NOT the best mode of communication, as your recipient may not even see the message for several hours. If you need an instant response, pick up the phone, use Instant Messaging, or go see the person face-to-face.
  2. Ask yourself if the message is necessary. Do not contribute to "email overload" by sending messages that could have been more effectively communicated via phone or face-to-face.
  3. Understand when a response is needed. If the email is simply a "For Your Information" type of message, it is not necessary to respond. When the sender asks for a response, or the message is a request to do something, respond immediately and let the sender know you are working on the request. Don't leave the sender wondering if you even got the message.
  4. Set the expectation for the reader. Tell him or her if you want a response or not. Make sure your question or request is easy to find and clearly written.
  5. Use CC (Carbon or Courtesy Copy) with discretion. Only CC those who actually will benefit from being kept in the loop on the discussion. And do not use BC (Blind Copy) to undermine others.
Author: Janie Sullivan

Janie Sullivan, MBA, MAEd, has been teaching adult learners for over 20 years. She has taught online over 15 years, specializing in writing, communications, and small business applications. Janie directs the Center for Writing Excellence where she offers writing, editing, and formatting services for writers. She has been published in several newspapers and magazines as well as multiple online sites. She teaches communication, business strategy, leadership, and management courses. Janie has published a book "Develop and Deliver an Online Class." This is the third book she has written about writing and teaching online. She also has published a novel and an anthology of short stories.

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