Five Ways to Ensure Your Email is Useful

Best Practices, Email No Comments »

A lot of people spend a significant amount of time in the office sending emails, but there are a significant portion of them that are so badly written, confusing, or just plain pointless that co-workers spend valuable periods of time every day figuring out what someone else has just sent. We thought we’d offer five tips to help turn your emails into something people will benefit from.

1) Learn grammar and spelling.

In all honesty, this is probably the number one reason many people find that their writing is generally disregarded. If you can’t spell or construct proper sentences, from emails to writing copy for www.o2.co.uk, people are not going to take you seriously in an professional environment.

2) Don’t send pointless emails.

Some people will waste the time of their co-workers simply by repeatedly sending emails about topics that don’t require one. Anything from the water-cooler being empty to asking questions you could Google the answers to is going to slow people down and frustrate them.

3) Use it formally, and only for business.

Don’t send emails in a formal or large office (100 employees or more) to announce birthdays, newly-born children, or what your dog did last week. Keep everything to an informal channel. Retirements and serious personal incidents or absences are fine, however.

4) Don’t use mailing lists unless you have to.

Having an email only relevant to two members of a forty-person team sent to every one of them because you’re too lazy to enter two addresses instead of one is ridiculous, so try and avoid this – irrelevant emails just clutter up people’s inboxes and waste their time.

5) Keep the extras to a minimum.

Long signatures and warnings about confidential information aren’t needed when sending emails internally. People know who you are, and if not, add a name and job title. As for the confidentiality – it’s an internal email, so it’s going to be career suicide for anyone who forwards it outside the company, regardless – but this is a preference that shifts from business to business, so it’s not as crucial.

Hopefully this will improve your in-office communication. If not, buy a loud-hailer, or an inflatable mallet!

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Can You Trust Your Email to Web-based Mail Services?

Best Practices, Email No Comments »

Roger Matus asks this question on his “DeathbyEmail” blog.

Like it our not, our email inboxes have become the virtual filing cabinets of our lives. Most of our personal and business communication eventually travels through email, and lots of critical data ends up being stored in our mail boxes. Surprisingly, not many of us ever contemplate what would happen if that information were instantly and irretrievably lost.

BusinessWeek just published an article: “Web-Based E-Mail: Businesses Beware.” The subtitle: “Microsoft, Google, Yahoo!, and lots of others offer these free or low-cost services, but if there’s a snafu or e-mails with essential information are lost, you’re likely to be out of luck.”

The old adage “you get what you pay for” holds true for email as well. Many of the popular free or low-cost email services have had their fair share of data snafus. One ISP even lost the emails of 14,000 customers.

So if you enjoy the convenience and the “price” of any of these free email accounts, plan for contingencies and please make a backup. This could be as simple as syncing a local copy with a free desktop email client such as Thunderbird via POP.

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Check the rules before you tweet from work

Best Practices, Risk Management, Security, Twitter No Comments »

The Wired blog ‘Epicenter’ reports on a study commissioned by the IT staffing company Robert Half, which found that 54% of US companies have banned the use of social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn sites at work. Apparently, the primary concern is loss of worker productivity, but fears over unknown legal and brand exposure may also play a role in this.

“Using social networking sites may divert employees’ attention away from more pressing priorities, so it’s understandable that some companies limit access,” said Dave Willmer, executive director of Robert Half Technology, in a statement.

Another study conducted by Nucleus Research also indicated that employees who use social networking sites at work do so up to 2 hours a day. 87% of employees admitted they weren’t using the sites for business, but for personal purposes instead.

Does your company have a social networking use policy in place? Perhaps a good time to check before HR comes knocking.

Update: I just found this short presentation on slideshare…

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onMessaging Newsletter

Best Practices, IBM Lotus No Comments »

If you have been following this blog, you may be interested to know that we just launched a newsletter called “onMessaging” that is focused on all things messaging. We’re planning to publish a new issue about once per quarter.

Similar to this blog, the newsletter is covering various topics about corporate messaging infrastructures while also providing specific insights and advice on how to handle some of the challenges in managing today’s mission-critical email, IM and collaboration systems.

For subscribers, we will also include in every newsletter a different, free product or service offering to help cope with tough economic times.

You can sign-up for the newsletter here.

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Nielsen Disables Reply-To-All Button – Send Button targeted next…

Best Practices, Email 7 Comments »

As reported on TechCrunch last week.  The management team at Nielsen Media decided to control the abuse of Reply-To-All by simply removing this functionality entirely from the Microsoft Outlook email client.  In a memo sent by Nielsen CIO, Andrew Cawood, he explains that the measure will “eliminate bureaucracy and inefficiency”.

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State Department issues stern warning sans reply option

Best Practices, Email, Email Cost, Information Overload, Security 2 Comments »

Only a few months following the reply-to-all tidal wave bringing down the email infrastructure at the Department of Homeland Security, the US State Department experienced a massive self-inflicted assault on their mail servers last week as well.

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