You may remember a time before there was email…a time when communications within most organisations were more formal and followed strict lines of protocol Email1and1. Email has done wonders to break down some of the communication bureaucracy and hierarchy within organisations; today virtually anyone can speak to anyone (and everyone) within an organisation with the click of a mouse – which can have both exciting and devastating implications! Email has brought with it a new informality to business communications and a new short-hand vocabulary and style of communication – but it didn’t come with instructions.
Use your email program to create an email signature block that will automatically attach to all of your outgoing messages; it’s a little like an email letterhead. It saves you the effort of including your contact information every time and brings a professional touch to your communications. You might simply include your name, business name, contact details and website or you might also include a sentence or two about your business, a special promotion you are running with a link to your website, or even a favourite funny or inspirational quote.
Take care when creating email signatures and stationery to keep it simple: just because it looks good on your computer doesn’t mean it’ll arrive in that same format at the other end. The way your stationery will display is dependent on the email software of your receiver – what is a smart-looking email design on your screen could easily turn out looking like an incomprehensible mess at the receiving end.
Because email is a screen-based communication, we must write for the screen, not the page; think and write in bullet points. The days of long, wordy business memos are all but over for most communications. Keep your sentences short and to the point. Longer content might be best captured as an attachment that can be printed out and read.
Be considerate when sending emails with attachments, especially to people outside of your organisation: not everyone will have the same file size limits and fast access that you might have and a large attachment can potentially block your receiver’s email account for many minutes.