Email and text communication — six basic rules for each

In my most recent column I recapped an online article that highlighted five key points for effective interpersonal conversations.

In my most recent column I recapped an online article that highlighted five key points for effective interpersonal conversations.

In the same article I acknowledged that technology, which includes email and now texting, is predominately used for business communications.

Effective face-to-face conversations continue to be a real issue in most workplaces. But as a majority of business communication is conducted through electronic methods, the ability to communicate clearly and effectively is more important than ever.

The style and format means we use short, often incomplete statements. Unlike fact-to-face, both of these methods cannot communicate body language and tone. Therefore, messages can easily be misinterpreted.

Email remains the most pervasive form of communication in the business world, however social networks and instant messaging (texting) are gaining ground.

As we spend a significant portion of our day composing and replying to emails, let’s review basic email rules.

1. Respect people’s time. The sheer volume of email we deal with daily can create unnecessary stress and loss of productivity. If the conversation is likely to need back and forth discussion, make a phone call.

2. Never send sensitive or personal information. Always respect confidentiality.

Don’t send anything you wouldn’t want posted on the staff bulletin board. Remember, emails are legal records.

3. Include a clear subject line. There is a good chance that your message may be overlooked or even rejected otherwise. There are times that the entire message can be in the subject line field.

4. Be brief and to the point. Any longer than one page and the reader tends to skim the message, so key information can be missed.

If you need to discuss different topics, write a separate email for each subject. Make action requests clear and summarize at the end of the message.

5. Always be polite. Generally, emails are thought to be less formal, however your language, etc. does reflect your professionalism. If the situation requires it, use formal salutations and proper punctuation and capitalization.

6. Finally, review your message before you press “send. “Be sure you have your intended recipient and correct address. Check for spelling and grammar errors.

In a recent survey, roughly one in seven millennials said they prefer text messaging over other methods of communication at work. (1.)

Jason Dorsey at the Center for Generational Kinetics asked a pool of human resource experts to share some basic rules for texting at work.

1. Always ask first. Get/give clear guidelines during new hire orientations.

Employee policies are just getting up to speed on the subject. Supervisors or managers may support texting in certain circumstances. The owner/boss may not appreciate receiving them unless it’s an emergency.

2. Leave out salutations, best wishes and other formalities. If the recipient won’t recognize you or your number, identify yourself first. Save the emoticons for close friends and family.

3. Text when response time is important. Texting is an interruption-driven method of communication, less intrusive than calling but more than email correspondence.

4. Keep it brief. Use texting to share a key piece of information or ask short questions. An email or phone call is a better method to use when there are details to address.

5. Generally, common abbreviations and truncated grammar are acceptable. However, if the messenger is using full sentences, it’s best to do the same. Always check your spelling.

6. Reply promptly. Texting is defined as instant messaging, briefer than an email, so respond quickly.

It’s obvious that mobile devices have become our primary form of communication. But remember, diverting attention away from the person in front of you to answer your cellphone or check texts and emails is always considered rude and unprofessional.

Lastly, before you start to write that email or send off that text, evaluate the most effective way to communicate your message. A phone call is sometimes the quickest and most effective method to begin a conversation, get an answer to a question or schedule appointments.

(1.) http://time.com/3590354/texting-at-work-rules/

John MacKenzie is a certified business coach and authorized partner/facilitator for Everything DiSC and Five Behaviours of a Cohesive Team, Wiley Brands. He can be reached at john@thebusinesstraininghub.com.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Bookings for COVID-19 vaccines for people age 75 or older start Wednesday. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Updated: Delays for seniors booking for vaccine appointments

Phone lines were swamped and the Alberta Health Services website crashed on… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland and Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau as they meet virtually with United States President Joe Biden from his office on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Biden on China’s detention of two Michaels: ‘Human beings are not bartering chips’

But the White House offered no hints about how it might help secure their release

Governor of the Bank of Canada Tiff Macklem holds a press conference at the Bank Of Canada in Ottawa on October 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Bank of Canada monitoring hot housing market amid early warning signs: Macklem

Central bank surprised by the rebound in housing market

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
A look at COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada on Wednesday

Total of 1,602,365 doses given so far

Meteor spotted over Edmonton, Alta., on Feb. 22, 2021 by several, who took to social media to share their surveillance camera captures. (@KixxAxe/Twitter)
VIDEO: Fireball meteor streaks across sky, spotted by early-morning risers in Alberta, B.C.

Videos of the quick streak of light flashing across the sky before 6:30 a.m. MST

Black Press File Photo
Valentine’s Day shooting in Maskwacis leaves one male in hospital, one male in custody

19-year-old Francis Edward Nepoose from Maskwacis has been charged with attempted murder.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney makes his way to the chamber in Edmonton on Friday, March 20, 2020. Kenney says a recent bump in energy prices in the third quarter of the budget is helping the bottom line as his government prepares to introduce its 2021-22 budget. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Higher oil prices boosting Alberta’s bottom line as budget looms Thursday: Kenney

EDMONTON — Premier Jason Kenney says a recent bump in energy prices… Continue reading

Montreal Canadiens head coach Claude Julien gives instructions during practice in Brossard, Que., Tuesday, July 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
CP NewsAlert: Montreal Canadiens fire head coach Claude Julien

Assistant coach appointed interim head coach

(Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
NFB hiring new execs to lead anti-racist practices, forge ties with Indigenous groups

TORONTO — The National Film Board of Canada is creating two key… Continue reading

The cast of “Schitt’s Creek” pose for a photo after winning the Award for Best Comedy Series at the Canadian Screen Awards in Toronto on March 31, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Schitt’s Creek’ earns third consecutive ensemble win at ACTRA Toronto Awards

Tamara Podemski won outstanding performance by a female on ‘Coroner’

NBA chooses All-Star reserves, with Zion among first-timers

NBA chooses All-Star reserves, with Zion among first-timers

FILE - In this March 9, 2020, file photo, New York Yankees' Clint Frazier runs to the dugout during a spring training baseball game in Clearwater, Fla. Brett Gardner's return to the Yankees won't displace Clint Frazier from taking over as New York's starting left fielder. Manager Aaron Boone said Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021, that the 26-year-old Frazier remained his first choice in left while cautioning developments during a season could alter intentions. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)
Yankees finalize deals for Brett Gardner, Justin Wilson

Yankees finalize deals for Brett Gardner, Justin Wilson

Most Read