Jan 24, 2011

Email Etiquette is Key

A few weeks ago at our KidMin staff advance(that's what we call our retreats),one of our staff members shared some thoughts about communication.

Charlotte Allison is our Director of KidMin at our Royal Palm campus. She is also our Core KidMin Coordinator which means she makes sure our campuses are in alignment and implementing key intiatives. She brings a wealth of experience and wisdom to the table.

Good communication is key to a healthy staff team. It is also vital when connecting with families. Since email is still such a large communication channel in a workplace, I thought you would benefit from the notes about email etiquette as well. So here we go...

Email Etiquette

* Give email communication the respect and value it deserves as a quick,
acceptable, and reliable form of communication.

* Reply to an email within 24 hours or sooner, even if the reply consists of a
few words (i.e. Great, Thanks, Sorry, Yes, No, Call me, etc.)

* Use spell check and reread emails prior to hitting the send button, because
email communications are a reflection on the sender and the organization.

* Refrain from using abbreviations and email slang in work related emails.

* Address the person by name whenever possible and when appropriate in email communications.

* Work on developing an email voice that is even toned, friendly, respectable, positive, approachable, and personable. You don't want to sound curt or demanding.

* Do not forward emails containing the email addresses of others, unless the addresses belong to other members of the restricted email account.

* Use the blind copy email feature when sending out mass emails so not to disclose the email addresses of others without their consent.

* Attempt to state the purpose or topic content of the email in the subject box.

* Use good judgment in what you communicate via email at all times, understanding that others could access such communication. Refrain from using email as a substitute for person-to-person contact.

Here's a few other tips I've learned from email mistakes I've made. (Dale)

* If the email content is going to be more than a couple of paragraphs, it may need to be phone call. Sometimes it's quicker to just pick up the phone and talk instead of continuing a long string of emails.

* Never correct or discipline by email. It needs to be face-to-face. A few weeks ago, there was a mix-up in one of our departments for the weekend media. Instead of having a team conversation in person, I took the quick route and sent an email. It wasn't the right thing to do. I had to go back and apologize to some people.

* We've all had those moments when we are sitting there with our finger above the send button...pondering whether or not we should hit send. If you're sitting there wondering if you should send the email or not...don't.

* Don't respond in anger or frustration when you get an angry email sent to you. The easy thing to do is to shoot back a quick, angry response. The godly thing to do is take some time to let things cool off, spend some time in prayer, and then arrange to meet in person about the matter.

* Don't use email to go around someone to their direct report. Have you ever gotten an email from someone requesting you to do something and your direct report is cc'd. It makes you feel like the person doesn't trust you or is trying to gang up on you to make sure something gets done. Trust the person you are sending the email to. If you run into delays or complications, then have a personal conversation.

* As mentioned above....respond. Have you ever sent someone an email asking for a task to be done or an answer to a question and you got no response? Very frustrating isn't it. Don't leave people hanging...let them know you got the email and you're on it.

* When a requested task is completed, let the requester know it is taken care of. If you are not going to be able to meet the deadline, then let them know instead of leaving them hanging.

If your team is having issues, there is a good chance it is rooted in bad communication skills or processes. The good news...you can improve with these and other simple tips. We are constantly working on our communication skills and channels. Arrived? No...but improving. Will you join us on the journey?

Posted by Dale Hudson

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