Monday, September 12, 2005

Things to watch out for when emailing

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Inspired by Din’s “Email Wars”, I had to write something about emails, in particular, if emailing using office email.

1. Sent to the relevant person

I know some people who email me and cc the email to another 15 people so that 1. If anything goes wrong, they have the 15 people as witness 2. Want to show that the person is “doing” his work. My advise is “Don’t!” because 1. it is annoying to get such emails 2. Surely one of the 15 cc-ed person will call and ask you “Is everything is ok”

I am handling a major project and the most I emailed back is the project manager of my client and sometimes the system engineer who is onsite. That’s it!

2. Check your spelling and grammar

Most email software’s have a built-in spelling checkers but I am surprised that many don’t use the facility. Some even don’t proof-read the mails before sending out. For me, it is different from proof reading my blog because 1. it is part of my work (to communicate with clients using emails) 2. Wrong decision or action can be taken based on what being typed.

I got one email and after reading, I saw this “…it is a different king”. I was confused and msn-ed back the client but he was not around. Half day was gone before he reverted to me that he meant “…it is a different kind”

3. Check that font!

SOME IDIOTS LIKE TO TYPE IN CAPITAL AND IN CONTINUOUS SENTENCES. DON’T THEY KNOW THAT FIRST OF ALL, IT IS REGARDED AS “VERY RUDE” AND SECONDLY, IT IS VERY CONFUSING AND IRRITATING TO THE READER? CAN YOU IMAGINE OUT OF THE MANY EMAILS I GET, I HAVE TO ACTUALLY READ THROUGH THIS KIND MAILS EARLY MORNING OR WHEN PEAK OF THE DAY AND IT IS EVEN WORSE WHEN THE EMAIL IS ABOUT 3 PAGES LONGS WITH NO UNDERLINES, BOLDS OR COLORED SENTENCES!

4. Organise your emails

I have sent urgent emails to people only to find out later that they have not opened my email. When I take the trouble to find out, I realised that they have about 900 emails in their inbox (mostly spam) and somehow my email just got “lost” in there. I am using Microsoft Outlook 2003 and what I do is this:-

a. Create separate folders for different clients and friends
b. Activate my junk mail filter to weed out those spam emails
c. Add “rules” to the emails that I get so that future emails from the same persons is sent to the relevant folders automatically
d. Once every 2 months, I archive the old emails so that the inbox is not “mind boggling”

5. Send attachments wisely

It’s frustrating when you have so many attachments in the email but I am not sure what it is for. It is even worse when the attachment has no relation to the content of the email but people sent it just in case I may need it.
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What I do is this:-

a. Maintain short names for my attachments. So instead of having “Project_plans_Africa_2005.doc”, I have it as “Project05.doc”
b. In my email contents, I would refer to the attachments. Example: “Based on the 2005 outlook, we have revised the project plans (refer to Project05.doc)”

6. Never use office email for chain mail or spasm

It’s good that we are tempted to tell our best buddies of the next sale for baby clothes or send the “how to be happy” PowerPoint slides. However, using office email for such usage is not only unethical; it is also bad reflection on the company that you work for. Imagine this; if you get 20 emails from your friend in Shell in a day, talking about all the above nonsense, you will be lead to think that your friend is wasting his time in Shell (makan gaji buta). Worse, you form a bad impression on the company.

In addition to the above, you will be contributing to spam and clogging your friend’s inboxes. Important emails may get lost, causing your friend to miss that email and make bad decisions.

7. Be short and precious but if need to, send a details emails

Some emails are way too short. Some are way too long. The key point here is to balance what to say. If the emails need to be long, use attachments to shorten your story but make it is not too short. If it is, you will be wasting your time to explain in a follow up email or the recipient of the mail may not have enough information to do the next action.

(Cartoon source: http://www.msrc.co.uk/)

3 comments:

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