Is Email Dead?
Is Email Dead?
by Susan Dunn, MA, Personal and Professional Development Coach
If not “dead,” it’s certainly in extremis. That’s a medical term meaning “at the point of death,” but the gist of the phrase will work. Email is in trouble, perhaps extreme, but we do not know.
What will be the future? Of course no one knows. I’m not alarmed. If you follow the course of the sp***ing, first it appears, then there’s a s*** filter, then someone gets around that, then …
The same circus goes on with viruses, and we can only manage our emotions as it happens, and remain responsive, not reactionary.
You need not trouble your mind with predicting … unless it’s your job. There’s a pertinent Zen proverb here: “If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.” Emotional Intelligence would recommend coping with it as it is, right in front of you and remaining flexible to changes in the future.
I think we need email and it will evolve as other things on the Internet have. In the meantime is this your life? More emails everyday that are of no use to you? Minutes to hours spent trying to go through them all? Increasing your skills to learn what to immediately reject that your s*** filter hasn’t already? Learning to scan for names and subjects you know? Setting up folder after folder? Trying to keep ahead of it all?
In order to make life simpler for one another, and for those who are looking for your emails and want to receive them, here are some tips:
1.Use a descriptive subject line.
The person you’re emailing may be receiving hundreds of emails a day. You may also be in a relationship-building or project-relationship with the person, where it would help them to know what you’re writing about ahead of time. A good subject line helps, i.e., “Notice of meeting March 22.”
2.Take your time.
Though it seems the opposite of what you should do, the more time you take composing your email, the more helpful it will be to the recipient. It will save time in the long run. If you’re sloppy they’ll have questions and will have to write you back and that means … another email in your box.
3.Set the date and time on your computer.
It’s confusing if this isn’t set right. Check your computer and check the company’s server.
4.Stick with the King’s English – a term for the proper sort of writing we learn in school, whatever our native language is.
We all learned in school to write a sentence this way: “I am sending you the first draft of the proposal to Mr. Smith.”
In our professions we learned other phrases specific to our trade which help us communicate such as, “Pursuant to the email of March 22,” or “Collaterals for the brochure have been printed and are being collated. Probable delivery date – March 22.”
When you stray from this, using a format such as this, “ BTW i
sent photos … got em yet? j.k. they’re in mail. look for them,” you will slow your reader down, and this is not the object of business communication.
Slang, typos, and incorrect grammar and punctuation will slow the reader down. Their mind can’t help but note it’s “wrong,” and this is an extra step we don’t need. Our minds are attuned to seeing certain things when we read, and when we do not we must stop and think and this takes time, the thing that’s in such short supply.
This of course does not apply to someone you know quite well, or informal or social emails with friends and family.
5.Emoticons and graphics ordinarily do not belong in business email. Of course if you’re sending a graph, that’s different.
6.Be concise, brief and to the point, while also mannerly. Manners are important, because things in writing are easily misunderstood.
7.Make sure your links link if you’re sending some.
8.If you send attachments, label them. This is extremely helpful to your reader. Bear in mind many people are leery these days of opening attachments and may request you send it in the body of an email.
Don’t compromise the person to whom you are emailing by writing something that would cause trouble for them. If you have negative things to say about their company or colleague, consider making a phone call. Don’t share a confidence in a business email. Many companies and firms examine employees’ emails.
Best to keep in mind there’s no such thing as ‘privacy’ on the Internet.
10.Consider using a disclaimer.
This states that the email was intended for the party to whom it was sent, and if it goes to someone else, it should be disregarded as it is confidential.
11.Use your Emotional Intelligence.
Email gives you the opportunity to stop and think before your respond, which is one of the EQ competencies. Make use of this golden opportunity to not put your foot in your mouth, go off half-cocked, say something you’ll regret, be a loose cannon … all those phrases we use when someone self-sabotages because they haven’t thought it through.
All emails can wait. What a great opportunity for a change, yes?
12.Don’t “cry wolf?”
Remember that Aesop’s fable about the little boy who kept crying “wolf,” and finally when one really came around, no one listened to him.
Don’t put the “immediate attention” button on their unless you mean it. The first time you don’t, and send something trivial marked important, you’ll be ignored in the future.
13.Expedite the return of the email.
Put in the email, if you agree to this, just click “reply” and put “yes” for the subject line. Wouldn’t you appreciate if this were done for your convenience? You or your assistant can put that on a macro.
14.Use fonts such as Times New Roman, Book Antigua, Bookman Old Style, Calisto MT or Lucida Bright.
They are seriphed. This means the letters have little “feet” to them. Tests have shown this is easiest to read. I know Arial is popular.
Not all “seriphed” fonts will work – Curltz MT, Harrington and Gloucester, for instance, are difficult to read even with feet.
In sum, other people are as busy as you are and appreciate anything you do to expedite the processing of their email.
Use your Emotional Intelligence to treat others the way you would like to treated, and, I think that gave from another source!
About the Author
©Susan Dunn, MA, The EQ Coach, http://www.susandunn.cc . Coaching, distance learning courses, and ebooks around emotional intelligence for your continued personal and professional development. For free ezine, mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org. I train and certify EQ coaches. Get in this field, dubbed “white hot” by the press, now, before it’s crowded. Start tomorrow, no residence requirement, global student body. Email for prospectus.
Susan Dunn, MA, Personal and Professional Development Coach