Not so many years ago writing to someone involved a pen, a sheet or two of paper, a stamp and a trip to the post-box. It took a lot to be inspired to write and typically you would have something important to say to make such an effort. Nowadays with email it is easier to write than not and anything that you think might be vaguely interesting to someone tends to get typed and sent. There is not even a standard acceptable length; anything from one line to an endless ream might wing its way into your inbox and there is not a person that is exempt; knowing someone or not makes it no more or less likely that you will receive an email from them at some point in time.
When it comes to work, remote offices, international corporations and bosses in high towers in places you had to learn to spell when you joined the company, sometimes you are only known by the quality and quantity of your emails.
To create a great impression you need to be the king or queen of the great email. Okay, so that is a tall order, but you can be known for great content and for me, I would say, less is definitely more when it comes to quantity.
I’m not suggesting that you revert to letter writing frequency. I think in this digital age people expect more communication than they did. If you got a letter from a best-friend once a month that would have been something to appreciate, now we probably talk to, skype, text and / or email our closest friends at least once a week (I hope my closest friends aren’t reading this; I’m still a once a month girl!).
So, when should you write an email and who should you copy?
- Email is great for things that need to be traceable; if you want an audit trail send an email. Even deleted emails can be found with the right expert and some specialist technology.
- Email is great when you want to send something complex that needs to be reviewed multiple times; sending complex proposals, contracts and tenders is a fantastic use of email
- When you want to send something internationally that will arrive immediately then use email. It is almost instant and of course, it is global
- When you want to let multiple people know about an event, meeting, course, conference, appointment or change in working practice send an email
Copy everyone that is involved in whatever the email is about. If you need an audit trail with certain departments or divisions copy a member of that team. When you have brought cakes into the office for your birthday and you copy all, including colleagues in other offices some distance away, that is inappropriate and is in effect junk email.
I have a very low tolerance to email. If you have sent me a few emails that are completely irrelevant to me, I am not opening your next email in any hurry, no matter who you are and no matter what you put as the subject title. If you send me multiple emails a day and nothing has interested me within the space of a week I might even filter you directly to my junk file. Harsh, yes, I am sure that it is, but I have a feeling that I am not the only one.
Sometimes in an effort to be visible to the people we want to notice us within an organisation we copy them on our emails so that they can see what we are up to and be impressed by our many efforts. Unfortunately, you are more likely to become the email pest than the office star. Much better to copy someone influential on something of interest to them as and when the opportunity arises, even if that is very infrequent. Imagine being top of their ‘to open’ list because they know that everything you ever send them is of interest and therefore your email is bound to be valuable. Now isn’t that a great position to be in!
For help getting noticed within your organisation or making the transition from where you are to where you want to be please contact one of our Consultant Coaches at firstname.lastname@example.org