In my January newsletter I wrote that I was headed to India to work with a global technology client to offer coaching on executive etiquette to their senior leaders. I am now back in this fascinating country on my second “tour of duty.”
When I left, I promised to stay in touch and to be only an e-mail away from family, friends and clients. E-mail has proven to be my most reliable means of communication. My laptop and Blackberry are my constant companions.
Relying on e-mail so heavily has given me a new perspective on the subject. I am more aware of how and when I use it, and I am paying more attention to the way others do as well. You can only guess what is coming next—a few reminders of the do’s and don’ts of e-mail etiquette.
- Do keep it brief. That is a hard rule for me, especially being so far from home. I have so much I want to tell people, friends, clients and client friends about my experiences. For those of you who know me well, brevity has never been my strong point. However, most people don’t have a lot of time to spend reading e-mail. Even my daughter said, “Mom, you don’t have to write every detail. Just let us know how you are.” I now have a sticky note on my laptop, saying,”Keep it brief.” The details will go into my journal.
- Confirm that you have received some one else’s e-mail. Once upon a time e-mail was extremely reliable. The hackers, spammers and Internet vandals have changed all that. We can’t be sure that our e-mail has gone through. Even bounce-backs are unreliable. Again, keep it brief, but let the other person know in a few words that the message was received.
- Respond to e-mail within 24 hours. You may be overwhelmed with other tasks and don’t have time to send an immediate response. If that’s the case, simply reply that you received the message and that you will respond. Suggesting a day or time is better that saying, “I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.” What does that mean?
For now, those are my top of mind e-mail tips.
Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.
Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions. Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.
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