Wednesday, July 27, 2016

"Email Communication Takes A Little Planning"

It wasn't all that long ago when email communication didn't exist. Now, it's hard to believe that was ever true. Emails are such a part of our lives - we email from our desktop computer, notebooks, and phones.

Nevertheless, as easy as it is to communicate with clients, family, and associates by email, there are a few considerations to keep in mind to so that we can use email messaging effectively.

Emails are great, but they have to arrive at the inbox of the person to whom they are addressed. The number of emails circulating in cyberspace must be quite large - and growing. There are many emails which are sent but for whatever reason never reach the inbox of the addressee.

Spelling has a lot to do - but not everything - with how emails are delivered. Take that extension - the dot (period) com. Type a comma instead of the period, and the email never gets delivered. So close but so very far away from being able to be delivered. Using the wrong domain extension is just as bad - using a .net or .org when it is supposed to be a .com, for instance.

Spelling in general is crucial for effective emailing. One letter or number out-of-place or omitted changes the entire address and makes it undeliverable to the person we intend to receive it. It might get delivered to someone else, but it likely just is never delivered at all.

Just sending an email message isn't enough. They have to be read. With some emails, we can track whether they are opened , but largely we don't know if they are opened, read, understood, or acted upon. We do our part in sending them, but then it's up to the recipient or reader to act.


How often do we call people to ask them if they received our email because we didn't hear anything that would indicate that they did? Interestingly, we could have just called them to begin with instead of emailing them.

We don't always know the schedule of the person we are sending a message to either. It could several hours or a few days before they ever see what we sent to them. In the case where we are sent something that was timely in nature, it needed to have been read soon after it was sent. Otherwise, the message would not be as important tor valuable.

Sometimes, a message we send will go into their junk or spam folder, and they may never know or see that they received a message from us. Whether they are expecting us to contact them or not, it could go totally unnoticed.

To help insure that it goes into the main inbox rather than a spam folder, choosing a good subject line is important. There are certain words that have been used so much by people who are sending out spamming or phishing emails that many email services (Outlook, Gmail, or Yahoo, for example) will automatically classify a message as spam just because of some trigger words that are in the subject line. Words such as free, opportunity, final, and others like this - there actually are more than a hundred words and phrases - will not help our message get delivered. An email doesn't need to have a clever or catchy title - we should just use something descriptive.

Emails are great, but we need for our recipients to get them and see them for the communication to work.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, MCSP, MIRM, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.