When replying to emails always respond promptly and edit out unnecessary information from the post you are responding to.
- Responding promptly is the courteous thing to do. Don’t let folks wonder if you received the email or are ever going to respond to their communications. Think about how quickly you would return a phone call or voice mail. If you need more time, longer than 48 hours, to gather your thoughts, simply pop off an email stating you are planning on responding in more detail and when.
- Don’t hit the reply button and start typing (known as top posting). Edit out unimportant parts of the email you are responding to and respond point by point. Yes, there may be times where keeping in the entire previous email is important, especially if you are adding folks to the conversation via CC.
Editing your email is accomplished by deleting information from the previous mail that is not necessary to continuing the conversation. At the very least edit out email headers and signature files. Never hit reply and send a one word answer. Doing so makes the other side wonder which part of the email you are responding to.
In particular, when email conversations on the same topic are ongoing, down editing when you reply is invaluable in instilling clarity in your communications.
Be sure to hit the enter key twice before typing your reply after the previous email contents. Doing so will ensure that your comments are directly after the content you are replying to. The recipient will then know exactly what part of their email your comments were directed at and helps to avoid misunderstandings.
Always edit or delete what is not necessary for the conversation to continue. This is a skill well worth developing that over time can add tremendous clarity to your communications.