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10 Internal Email Best Practices For Ultimate Effectivenesson 20 September 2020Posted by Brandon Hastings
Email has been a standard method of business communication for decades. Even though more modern solutions have invaded the market in recent years, email remains at the core of many organisations.
One Adobe study found that people spend over three hours per day checking work email. With people reviewing so many emails, yours may easily get skipped if it isn’t up to par. To ensure you don’t fall into this trap, we’ve curated several internal email best practices below.
Follow These 10 Email Best Practices At Work
1. Be concise.
After reading through multiple wordy emails, the last thing most people want to do is read more, especially if they have limited time. That’s why concision is extremely important. Don’t say in 50 words what you can say in 10, even when it comes to internal email communication.
“You may think that because an email is an internal one, your peers will gladly read it. In reality, that’s not always the case,” says Jakub Kliszczak, marketing specialist at Channels.
2. Summarize your message at the end.
People tend to be strapped for time, so they may only scan your email, especially if it’s lengthy. A summary at the end is incredibly helpful in this scenario. That way, even people who don’t read the whole email will have a solid idea of what information is being conveyed.
“A popular approach is putting ‘tl;dr’ at the end, which stands for too long, didn’t read. This signals to the reader that what comes after that term are the main points of the preceding text,” Kliszczak explains.
3. Section the body of your email.
Kliszczak says it’s important to include section headings in emails that cover different areas of a topic. This helps the reader keep track of and better process the information being shared. For example, if you’re sending a status update about an ongoing marketing campaign, you may have sections for social channels, email, direct mail, and so on.
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4. Send emails on a schedule.
Matthew Daily, managing director at Tiger Financial, says that sending emails at predetermined times can help with worker productivity. For example, instead of reaching out to his team whenever he thinks about something he wants to share, he sends it the next morning.
“We’ve conditioned our workforce to expect managerial emails to only come once in the morning. This gives them the mental freedom to carry on with their work with fewer distractions, as they would otherwise pause their task if my email popped up in their inbox,” Daily explains.
Calloway Cook, president of Illuminate Labs, likes to send end-of-week summary emails every Friday afternoon. “It's good for your team to go into the weekend understanding at a high-level what the business accomplished that week. It's easy for employees to get tunnel vision when they're focused on their individual tasks, but this type of email can keep them motivated and help them understand how their work is positively impacting the company.”
5. Make sure your email conveys the right tone.
Tone is easily misinterpreted in text. Normally, people use facial expressions and voice to accurately assign tone to words. Emails don’t have that luxury, and there are plenty of stories from the corporate world to support this theory. If you haven’t experienced it for yourself, ask any of your colleagues to see how common misinterpreting tone is.
“With internal email communication, people gauge tone from word usage, capitalization, and even sentence length,” says Carol Tompkins, business development consultant at AccountsPortal. “To avoid the recipient misinterpreting my feelings or intent on the matter, I phrase my words unambiguously and use capitalization where appropriate.”
6. Use an appropriate subject line.
“A well-written, relevant, and concise subject line is an essential part of an email,” says Tompkins. A good subject line will clearly indicate what the email is about and help the reader prioritize the email, prompting them to open it and take the necessary action in a timely manner. In contrast, confusing or blank subject lines are more likely to be ignored or even marked as spam.
7. Never send passwords in an email.
With the increased frequency of data breaches in recent years, many companies have started focusing on cybersecurity and created more stringent security policies. Many of these policies cover email usage, with password sharing being a key concern.
“Whenever I have to send a password to a team member, I just email them requesting a call,” says Cook. “You don't want to leave sensitive information in email because if your company email is compromised, this can lead to ancillary damage. I would recommend making this practice standard for your entire workforce.”
8. Remove unnecessary people from the CC field.
The dreaded “reply all” feature. Another area of frustration for corporate workers who deal with lots of emails day to day. Hitting “reply all” keeps everyone originally copied on the email a part of the conversation, which can be a good or bad thing. “Sometimes it makes sense to have several team members CC'ed on the original email, but not in later responses to the same email chain,” says Cook.
Each time you reply to an email, you need to assess whether everyone copied needs your response. There's no point in spamming team members with updates to an email chain that's not relevant to their work, or doesn’t impact them.
9. Lead with the most important information.
“After your initial greeting, you should be indicating what you need, what questions you have, and what calls to action are necessary from the recipient,” says Robert Kienzle, senior consultant at Knowmium. “If the reader doesn’t have time to read everything, at least they’ll know the key takeaway. They can come back later to get more details.”
Of course, not every email follows this rule to the letter. Kienzle says you may be sending an email where you need to buffer bad news before delivering it in the middle or at the end. “But in most cases, keep this acronym in mind: BLUF, or bottom line up front.”
10. Proofread before sending!
You’ve probably seen this best practice in every article you’ve ever read about emails. Well, that’s because it’s extremely important. Not only does a mistake-free message help prevent misinterpretation, it also makes your email come off as more professional. Consider the message you’re conveying when you don’t proofread: If you aren’t taking the time to ensure your email is written correctly, why should the recipient take the time to read it?
“I always proofread before hitting send,” says Tompkins. “This is important to ensure there are no grammar, spelling, or punctuation mistakes. The emails you send speak volumes about your professionalism, so try to send emails with zero errors.”
Work inbox giving you a headache? Get some relief with Glasscubes.
Over-the-counter medicine may alleviate frustration with internal email communication in the short run, but the pain will just return the next time you open your inbox. Glasscubes is a more permanent solution to curing email-induced headaches. It’s a collaboration tool that gives you and your team a means to communicate, share information, and more—all in one place.
Instead of emailing back and forth about a document, store the file in Glasscubes and use the file’s discussion thread. Rather than sending emails to your team instructing them on what to do next, assign tasks directly with our project management feature.
Whether you work remotely or in the office, with Glasscubes, you can:
- Store and share files in a secure location, complete with automatic version control. You can even create approval workflows and view clear audit trails of user actions.
- Assign and manage tasks for different members of the team, and track them to completion.
- Create customised workspaces for each project team in your portfolio. Team members can share resources and communicate with one another in their specific workspace, and you can access them all for easy oversight.
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