It’s that time of year — time to make your resolutions. I’ve been online helping folks for over 20 years now (Wow! Time flies when you are having fun!) and there are still some issues that onliners struggle with or, honestly, refuse to embrace. And some, just need an annual little reminder!
So raise your hand and repeat after me…
- I will configure my e-mail program to show my proper name in the From: field. First Name, Last Name; both properly capitalized. Not in all lower case; not in all caps. This will help to make sure my e-mails look legitimate instead of being misidentified as spam.
- I will start every e-mail with a nice greeting and sign off with a closing and my name. One sentence e-mails without these efforts are perceived as demanding, terse and/or rude.
- I will make sure the Subject: field of every e-mail is clear and concise about the topic of my communication and will make the effort to change the Subject: field when the conversation changes direction.
- I will refrain from using bold or red text to show emphasis in my e-mail’s tone. By doing so I leave the level of emphasis up to the other side which can cause misunderstandings. Instead, I will choose my words carefully to reflect my intent and meaning.
- I will not send e-mails that say “forward to all your friends” because I know by forwarding an e-mail to a bunch of people really is not personal and carries no special meaning at all. If I find a message that truly pertains to any of my “real” friends, I will send a copy to each one individually with a personal note about why I am forwarding them that message. Now that’s thoughtful!
- I will not list all my contacts in the To: or Cc: field. I do not want to expose their addresses to strangers and understand doing so is a serious breach of privacy and trust. When e-mailing a group of people who do not know each other, I will always use the BCc: field.
- I will never send unannounced large attachments without first asking if the person on the other side would be interested in what the attachments contain and when would be the best time to send them so they can keep their inbox clear.
- I will continually work on my writing and communication skills so that my e-mails are not misunderstood or disregarded. Lack of spell checking, grammar and proper sentence structure reflects a lack of education or concern about being taken seriously.
- I will always check my junk or trash folder to see if any e-mails landed there by mistake before I send off follow-ups or e-mails insinuating lack of response from those I am communicating with. Adding expected e-mail addresses to my whitelist/approved senders will become a habit.
- I will make a point of thanking those who help me via e-mail. Whether it be a website, Blog, discussion board or friendly Netizen who answers my questions or offers help when I e-mail them. I will thank them and let them know their efforts on my behalf are truly appreciated.
It is your choice how to use technology and whether it will hinder or help your communications. How about makings these 10 Resolutions when it comes to your day-to-day e-mail activities? You can bet those you communicate with will be glad you did!
Happy New Year!