Improve your bottom line with efficient email practices

Companies – both large and small – rely on email as a convenient communication tool to connect with colleagues and customers. With hundreds of messages landing in our inboxes each day, we could easily spend hours upon hours managing our email accounts. It is estimated that 40% of our work day is spent on e-mail. (1)

A third of this time could be wasted trying to manage an overwhelming amount of information as well as deciphering cryptic emails. To ensure that your emails are not jeopardizing productivity, remember the A, B, C’s of writing effective emails.

A = Begin your email with an action statement in the subject line. We often manage our inbox by subject lines. For example, “Submit meeting agenda items by 5 p.m. Tuesday”

B = The body of an email should include sufficient background information. Provide information in an easy-to-read format:

• Bullet points can be scanned quickly.
• Write only information that the recipient needs.
• Balance between too much and too little information.

C = The closing should provide clear instructions of what you want your reader to do. It’s also a good practice to use automatic full signature with your contact information.

Emails can lead to misunderstandings because they don’t permit body language, verbal inflections, and non-verbal feedback that is present with face-to-face conversations.

Even though emails are a more casual way to communicate with customers and colleagues, they require the same amount of professionalism as formal pen and paper correspondence. A good rule of thumb: don’t email anything you wouldn’t want your grandmother to read or to appear on the front page of the newspaper.

Laurie Gungel
Business Institute

(1) Song, M. (2007). The Hamster Revolution: How to Manage Your Email Before It Manages You. San Franscisco: Berrett-Koehler.

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The Business Institute is your training resource for managing email accounts and writing effective letters and memos. The BI provides practical training opportunities to improve time-management skills and increase employee efficiency. Click here for more information or call 815.232.1362 or email us

Register today for the upcoming SBDC seminar “Are you Ready?” on August 8, 2007

Business Institute

Laurie Gungel
Business Institute

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Training Coordinator

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July 2007