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EMAIL WRITING. Ready, Set, Guess the problem!. BEFORE WRITING THE EMAIL. Make a plan!. Think about the purpose of the email. Think about the person who will read the email and how you want him or her to react.

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email writing
EMAIL WRITING

Ready, Set, Guess the problem!

before writing the email
BEFORE WRITING THE EMAIL

Make a plan!

Think about the purpose of the email

Think about the person who will read the email and how you want him or her to react

Make an outline or list of the main points and details you want to include in the email

Double check any facts, dates, times, or other specific details that will be included in the email

slide4

Who are you writing to and what is your relationship with the person?

If the person you are writing to is in a higher position than you, your email should use more formal language than if the person is someone in the same level position than you.

If you have never met the person receiving your email before, you should use formal language in the first email to him or her.

Once you have sent the first email and received a reply, you can choose to continue using formal language or choose to use less formal language in future emails.

what is the situation
WHAT IS THE SITUATION?

Think about the reason you are sending the email and decide if formal or informal language is better.

If you are requesting a service or asking a favor, you should use formal language.

If you are making a complaint, you should use strong words to express your dissatisfaction or problem but you must be polite.

If you are introducing yourself, you should use formal language but you can use words or phrases that let your personality show through as well.

If you are writing a customer relation letter, you should use formal language.

what do you want to accomplish
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH?

Think about the reason for writing the email and what you want the person who receives the email to do with it.

If you want the receiver to do something for you, make it clear. Tell the receiver exactly what action you want done.

Tell the receiver if no action needs to be taken.

If you want the receiver to respond by a certain date, write the response date.

If you are negotiating or rearranging a meeting, write your demands or available times clearly.

get right to the point
GET RIGHT TO THE POINT

Don’t use unnecessary words and phrases that distract from the main idea of the email or may confuse the reader

The person reading your email does not have a lot of time to read your email so you must make it as direct as possible.

Make the reason for writing the email clear at the beginning and only add details that are directly related to the topic of the email.

use simple sentences
USE SIMPLE SENTENCES

Avoiding difficult or complex sentence structures will help you avoid grammatical mistakes.

Simple sentences will make the email easier for your reader to understand, especially if the person reading the email is not a native English speaker.

pay attention to word choice
PAY ATTENTION TO WORD CHOICE

Remember that writing is a form of indirect communication. Unlike having a conversation with someone, you do not have a chance to clarify yourself by restating your ideas or use nonverbal cues to make your meaning clear. You have to make sure your reader understands what you want to say and gets the right “message” the first time.

slide11

Think about how the email might be perceived by the reader. Are there any words or phrases that may make the tone seem angry, flippant or disrespectful?

Avoid trying to make a joke or say something funny in an email. Sometimes what you think is funny might be misunderstood by the reader and create a bad relationship.

Use words that are specifically related to the topic but define any words or phrases that you think the reader might not be familiar with, especially words that are specific to a certain type of job, field of study or product.

the subject of the email
THE SUBJECT OF THE EMAIL

Always write the subject of the email on the subject line

Remember that business people often receive hundreds of emails every day. If you don’t write the subject in the subject line the person receiving the email might think it is SPAM or junk email and delete the message. If the subject isn’t clear they might delete the email as well, so make sure the subject is direct-don’t use too many words.

the four parts of a business email
THE FOUR PARTS OF A BUSINESS EMAIL

The Opening

Tells the reader why you are writing

The Focus

Tells the details about the topic

The Action

Tells what you want to happen and gives a time frame

The Closing

Thank the reader and mention future communication

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The receiver’s email address

Carbon copy

Blind carbon copy

Email subject

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wednesdaysensei@hotmail.com

joeshmou@youknow.net

July 5 meeting time change

slide17

Type your email message in the text box, then click send and it will be sent to the receivers you have indicated in the to, Cc, and Bcc areas.

why is email etiquette important
WHY IS EMAIL ETIQUETTE IMPORTANT?
  • We all interact with the printed word as though it has a personality and that personality makes positive and negative impressions upon us.
  • Without immediate feedback your document can easily be misinterpreted by your reader, so it is crucial that you follow the basic rules of etiquette to construct an appropriate tone.
the elements of email etiquette
General format

Writing long messages

Attachments

The curse of surprises

Flaming

Delivering information

Delivering bad news

Electronic Mailing Lists

THE ELEMENTS OF EMAIL ETIQUETTE
general format the basics
Write a salutation for each new subject email.

Try to keep the email brief (one screen length).

Return emails within the same time you would a phone call.

Check for punctuation, spelling, and grammatical errors

Use caps only when appropriate.

Format your email for plain text rather than HTML.

Use a font that has a professional or neutral look.

GENERAL FORMAT: THE BASICS
general format character spacing
GENERAL FORMAT: CHARACTER SPACING
  • Try to keep your line length at 80 characters or less.
  • If your message is likely to be forwarded, keep it to 60 characters or less.
  • Set your email preferences to automatically wrap outgoing plain text messages.
general format lists and bullets
When you are writing directions or want to emphasise important points, number your directions or bullet your main points.

For example,

Place the paper in drawer A.

Click the green “start” button.

Another example,

Improve customer satisfaction.

Empower employees.

GENERAL FORMAT: LISTS AND BULLETS
general format tone
Write in a positive tone

“When you complete the report.” instead of “If you complete the report.”

Avoid negative words that begin with “un, non, “ex” or that end with “less” (useless, non-existent, ex-employee, undecided).

Use contractions to add a friendly tone.

(don’t, won’t, can’t).

GENERAL FORMAT: TONE
attachments
ATTACHMENTS
  • When you are sending an attachment tell your respondent what the name of the file is, what program it is saved in, and the version of the program.
  • “This file is in MSWord 2000 under the name “LabFile.”
when your message is long
WHEN YOUR MESSAGE IS LONG
  • Create an “elevator” summary.
  • Provide a table of contents on the first screen of your email.
  • If you require a response from the reader then be sure to request that response in the first paragraph of your email.
  • Create headings for each major section.
elevator summary and table of contents
An elevator summary should have all the main components of the email.

“Our profit margin for the last quarter went down 5%. As a result I am proposing budget adjustment for the following areas…”

Table of contents

“This email contains

A. Budget projections for the last quarter

B. Actual performance for the last quarter

C. Adjustment proposal

D. Projected profitability”

ELEVATOR SUMMARY AND TABLE OF CONTENTS
delivering information about meetings orientations processes
DELIVERING INFORMATION ABOUT MEETINGS, ORIENTATIONS, PROCESSES
  • Include an elevator summary and table of contents with headings.
  • Provide as much information as possible.
  • Offer the reader an opportunity to receive the information via mail if the email is too confusing.
delivering bad news
DELIVERING BAD NEWS
  • Deliver the news up front.
  • Avoid blaming statements.
  • Avoid hedging words or words that sound ambiguous.
  • Maintain a positive resolve.
delivering bad news1
Deliver the news up front:

“We are unable to order new computers this quarter due to budget cuts.”

Avoid blaming:

“I think it will be hard to recover from this, but what can I do to help?”

Avoid using “weasel words” or hedging:

“Our pricing structure is outdated.”

More examples of hedging are:

Intents and purposes

Possibly, most likely

Perhaps, maybe

DELIVERING BAD NEWS
writing a complaint
You should briefly state the history of the problem to provide context for your reader.

Explain the attempts you made previously to resolve the problem.

Show why it is critical for the problem to be resolved by your reader.

Offer suggestions on ways you think it can be resolved or how you are willing to help in the matter.

WRITING A COMPLAINT
writing a complaint1
Briefly state the history:

“The current way we choose officers for our organisation is not democratic. As a result, we have a popularity contest that does not always get us the best candidates.”

Show attempts made by you thus far to resolve the issue:

“I have offered two alternatives for officer selection that still involves the votes of the members but both have been rejected by the executive board.”

WRITING A COMPLAINT
writing a complaint2
WRITING A COMPLAINT

Show why it is important for your reader to get involved:

“This is a problem for two reasons. First, I am concerned that the executive board no longer protects the interests of the organisation and that their actions are not in keeping with the constitution of the organisation.

Second, there have been a number of complaints from the members who feel that their concerns and preferences are not being addressed by the executive board, which decreases morale and productivity.”

writing a complaint3
WRITING A COMPLAINT

Ask for help and offer a resolution:

“Please let me know what other options I may have overlooked. I am willing to meet with the department head and the executive board to seek out a solution that is fair to the members and is good for the business of the organisation. ”

do not take your reader by surprise or press them to the wall
DO NOT TAKE YOUR READER BY SURPRISE OR PRESS THEM TO THE WALL
  • Do not wait until the end of the day to introduce a problem or concern via memo or email.
  • Avoid writing a litany of concerns that you have been harboring for a long period of time.
flaming in emails
Flaming is a virtual term for venting or sending inflammatory messages in email.

Avoid flaming because it tends to create a great deal of conflict that spirals out of control.

Flame fights are the equivalent of food fights and tend to affect observers in a very negative way.

What you say cannot be taken back; it is in black and white.

FLAMING IN EMAILS
keep flaming under control
Before you send an email message, ask yourself, “would I say this to this person’s face?”

Calm down before responding to a message that offends you. Once you send the message it is gone.

Read your message twice before you send it and assume that you may be misinterpreted when proofreading.

KEEP FLAMING UNDER CONTROL
responding to a flame
Empathise with the sender’s frustration and tell them they are right if that is true

If you feel you are right, thank them for bringing the matter to your attention

Explain what led to the problem in question

Avoid getting bogged down by details and minor arguments

If you are aware that the situation is in the process of being resolved let the reader know at the top of the response

Apologise if necessary

RESPONDING TO A FLAME
when email won t work
WHEN EMAIL WON’T WORK
  • There are times when you need to take your discussion out of the virtual world and make a phone call.
  • If things become very heated, a lot of misunderstanding occurs, or when you are delivering very delicate news then the best way is still face-to face.
abbreviations
ABBREVIATIONS

Only use common abbreviations or abbreviations you are sure the reader will understand!

Examples

  • i.e. (id est) …
  • e.g. (exempli gratia) …
  • NB (nota bene) …
  • PS (postscript) …
  • BTW (by the way)
  • asap (as soon as possible)
other abbreviated forms
OTHER ABBREVIATED FORMS

Do not treat email as text messaging!

Cul8r = ?

Qty = ?

Rec’d = ?

Pls = ?

Wd = ?

Hv = ?

Otoh = ?

Bw = ?

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Don't send private messages with the company account
  • Use BCC if necessary
  • Be professional. Ensure your work emails don't contain 'u', ‘cul8r', ‘ru', and/or several million other texting/chatroom acronyms
  • Check tone
  • Don't use email when you are angry
  • Get clarification
  • Quoting –Cut and paste the most relevant sentence from the message to which you are responding
slide45
Use meaningful subject lines
  • Be brief
  • Summarise
  • Don’t cheat with templates
  • Use 'Reply All' only when necessary
  • Remember the telephone!
  • If it's urgent, say so
  • On vacation? Generate an “out of office” reply.
  • Proofread!!!
email tips
EMAIL TIPS
  • Greetings and closings
  • Reply all
  • “Are you happy for ANYONE to read your email?” test
  • Email lists
  • Organisation – formatting
  • Not revising
  • Attachments
  • Immediacy vs. convenience
  • To, Cc, Bcc