Originally, this blog post was going to be directed to all my small business owner followers. But as I was thinking about it more and more, I think this information can be applied to either a professional or personal situation, like many of my tips that I offer.
In addition to writing this blog, I do some contract work for a little, local non-profit organization. We specialize in animal rescue and responsible pet ownership and education. Yesterday, I received an extremely vague email from someone inquiring about website advertising. The problem was – from his email I couldn’t tell if he wanted us to advertise on his website or if he wanted to advertise on our website. I responded from the angle that we don’t advertise on other websites, his response this morning was that he would make donation in exchange for advertising. WHAT? I was so confused, I just point-blank asked him what he was asking to do. He finally responded with clarity.
A couple of months ago, I received an email from my son’s teacher very basically informing me that my son would miss recess because she had received an email from a friend’s father that my son was calling his son names.
Period. The End. Seriously – that was about all the email offered.
Both of these emails to me are maddening. Both are so vague in their information, they both require me to seek more information. The advertising guy could have introduced himself, his company, stated more clearly what he was hoping to achieve and ask how best to proceed. The teacher’s email gave no specifics of occurrences or what names had been called – it was so vague and offered so little information, I didn’t even address it with my son.
Here’s my point – I LOVE EMAIL! It is quick, to the point, always available (no phone tag with email.) But email also has it drawbacks – messages get lost or misunderstood much more easily if things are not written clearly.
So in the spirit of saving time and energy – and not wasting either on emails that you send – here are a couple of things to remember to help your email messages go through with enough information to combat the need for future and unnecessary followups.
1. More information is better. Don’t you hate it when people hold back on information? I certainly do.
2. Don’t create a situation in which a person needs to ask for more information or clarifying details.
3. Introduce yourself and your intentions if this is the first attempt to connect with a person/company.
4. Clearly state what your desires are. Sometimes emails are just information based that don’t require any further action – but many times they are not. Be clear what your expectations are of the recipient so there is no confusion later.
There are many email etiquette blogs, books and articles that can be read about the subject. Here’s my little tidbit on the topic. Hope it helps!