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Emails and real life conversations are two different worlds. One common practice in real life might not be necessary on emails. What should you do regarding emails? What is the proper approach? Here is a list of tips for you in order to construct that reply, and write that much needed email.
- The general rule is you have to reply no matter what. Communication is key. You just have to click that reply button and acknowledge that you have received the email. If you are given an urgent task, reply to the sender that you got the email and start working on it. If you cannot do it within the day, explain on why that is the case and give a time estimate on when you will be able to complete the given task.
- Prioritize the emails with action items. Before you go on acknowledging all the emails you got. Reply first to the emails that needs your immediate attention (e.g. you have to send a document file, confirm a meeting by giving out the restaurant reservation details, and so on.)
- Yes, you have to acknowledge an email. Read first the contents because there might be exceptions to the rule. 1) The sender might have included an NTN (or No Thanks Needed!) Obviously, it means that you do not have to reply. 2) You are just on the CC line. That is why you have to read carefully. Only the people on the TO line will do this specific task unless, of course, if someone specifically asks you to join and help. When you are included on the CC line, this is just to keep you informed.
- Attach the attachments. Sometimes, you are in a hurry to reply and send your email that you forgot that the attachment is still uploading. Make sure that the file you are attaching is actually included in the email you are sending. Do not forget to check if the attachments are 100% complete and that no file failed in the process.
- Be clear with your answers. Yes, you should be concise with your replies, but you also have to be direct. Replying ‘Yes’ to a question is not enough. Repeat the questions you are answering (e.g. ‘Yes, the blue roses are great.’ or ‘Yes, we prefer the blue ones.’)
- Make use of the subject line. The subject line is often neglected when in fact, it provides a summary of the email. Is the email for information purposes only or is it regarding a scheduling request? Be specific when writing a subject line (e.g. For Approval: Budget for August 2017, or FYI: New ID System.)
At the end of the day, it all depends on your work environment. These are just general guidelines to help you manage your emails. Every rule has exceptions of course! Some business keep their emails strictly for important matters and thank you emails are no-no. Some are encouraged to converse and chat. If you need more tips on online etiquette, you can check out this article.