Tuesday, August 26, 2008

E-mail and YOU!

Last Thursday, the IAAPA staff headed off to Dave & Buster's in Hanover, MD for our annual staff retreat, SummerFest.

While it sounds like a lot of fun in games, it was educational, too. Before we could enjoy the games on the midway, we participated in two professional development education sessions. The first session focused on proper e-mail etiquette and the second dealt with how to be more globally minded when holding events and working with members from around the world.

Jay Kalathil, IAAPA's web manager, and I presented a session on e-mail etiquette and best practices. We prepared for the session by polling the IAAPA staff for their e-mail pet peeves and compared that to the various research we found on the subject. We learned a lot: How to properly address emails; dos and don'ts with regard to font size and color; how and when to use a signature, plus much more.

Our presentation consisted of a PowerPoint, a few video clips, and activities. At the end of the session we provided the staff with a checklist of items to think about before they send their next e-mail. That checklist is posted below for your review; feel free to use these handy tips for your own training.

We would welcome your comments and additions! Happy reading and e-mailing!

E-mail Checklist

Who should be included?

• Have I thought about who I am sending this e-mail to?
• Am I blind-ccing (or cc-ing) my boss? Am I bcc-ing (or cc-ing) a coworkers boss? If so, what will happen if the recipient finds out? Have I tried to resolve this situation with the recipient first? If not, don’t send the e-mail. Go and talk to them.
• Did I hit 'reply all'? If so, am I glad I did? Does every person on the list
need to see it?

How is my tone?

• Am I angry? If so, save as draft and come back to the note in one hour, one day, or never.
• If I had to pay 42 cents (of my own money!) to send this e-mail, would I?
• Did I mind my manners and is my e-mail polite?
• Am I giving bad news to someone over e-mail? If so, don’t send it. Talk to your recipient.
• Could whatever I want to be accomplished by sending this e-mail be done better (or FASTER) with a phone call or visit to the person’s office?
• Is there anything in this e-mail I don't want the attorney general, the media, or my boss seeing?

What do I do about attachments?

• Have I attached any files that are very big?
• Did I include an explanation for why I am sending the attachment and the recipient knows what I want them to do with it?
• Did I attach the attachment?

Is my e-mail formatted and written professionally?

• Is any portion of the e-mail in all caps? Is it in black/blue type at a normal size, business appropriate font?
• Is this the first time I e-mailed this person? If so, do I have my contact info at the bottom?
• Am I quoting back the original text in a helpful way?
• Could this e-mail be shorter?
• Did I check to make sure I know the difference between its and it's, your and you’re, there, their, and they’re, among other common grammatical and spelling errors not caught by spell check?
• Does the subject line make it easy to understand what's to come and likely it will get filed properly and replied to?
• Do I respond to e-mail requests in a reasonable amount of time 24-48 hours?
• Did I read the entire e-mail chain before I replied to this e-mail?

What do I do about forwards?

• Am I forwarding someone else's mail? If so, will they be happy when they find out?
• Am I forwarding something about religion, race, or other potentially offensive issue?
• Am I forwarding something about a virus or worldwide charity effort or other potential hoax?

And one final question:

• Can I schedule a meeting using a meeting request instead of sending an e-mail?

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