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Email protocols

  • 4 mins

As our HenderCare continues to grow, our need for electronic communication will increase. Therefore, it is timely to consider some basic protocols around the use of email.
Adopting some consistent email practices at work will help communication become more efficient, and more effective.
When composing an email, make sure you keep these tips in mind:
Subject Line
Include a clear, direct subject line. Always add a Subject line to summarise the body of the email. This will allow the recipient to determine the importance of your email. People often decide whether to open an email based on the subject line.
Examples of a good subject line include, “Meeting date changed,” “Quick question about your presentation,” or “Suggestions for the proposal.”
Proofread every message
Your mistakes won’t go unnoticed by the recipients of your email. Don’t rely on spell-checkers. Read and re-read your email a few times, before sending it off.
Add the email address last
You don’t want to send an email accidentally before you have finished writing and proofing the message. Even when you are replying to a message, it’s a good precaution to delete the recipient’s address and insert it only when you are sure the message is ready to be sent.
Outlook will often predict your sender so it pays to double-check that you’ve selected the correct recipient.
Include the right people and state why they are on the email
Only send emails to the people who require the information, and who need to take action.
If you include a lot of people just to keep them informed or updated, they may feel you are unnecessarily clogging up their email. Be cautious with the cc. If a person doesn’t know why they are included on an email, they may not act upon it.
Lead with your action items
Use the first two to three sentences of your email to define who needs to take what action by when. If necessary, add explanation and detail below. Keeping action items at the top makes your intentions very clear, helps those who rely on email previews and notification windows, hastens action, and eases follow-up.
Using Cc and Bcc
Use Cc field sparingly and only when you need both to:
29. keep the Cc people informed about an email sent to a direct addressee
30. show the addressee that you’re keeping the Cc people informed
Use Bcc field sparingly and only when you want the Bcc people to be hidden from addresses.
When replying to an email, keep these tips in mind:
Remember that you do not need to respond to everything
Make sure that your replies are actionable and relevant and know that a reply isn’t always necessary.
Keep your responses short
In many cases, brief responses are best, and you don’t always need to give a lengthy response to a lengthy email.Due to the lack of emotional context in emails, short responses may be interpreted as curt or unfriendly, so it’s worth establishing upfront that brief replies are intentional and intended to save time and create clarity.
Think twice before hitting ‘reply all’
Refrain from hitting “reply all” unless you really think everyone on the list needs to receive the email. If people are no longer relevant to the thread, remove them and save them from getting another email they don’t need.
What if you think you have received an email by mistake?
Bearing in mind the above protocols, a reply isn’t necessary but serves as good email etiquette.
Here’s an example reply: “I know you’re very busy, but I don’t think you meant to send this email to me. I wanted to let you know so you can send it to the correct person.”
Other general points
Would it be easier to call than to email?
Keep in mind that email and written communication sometimes confuses tone and emotion. It may seem old-fashioned, but if an email thread gets derailed with repeated clarification and follow-up questions, then get on the phone, Teams or call an in-person meeting. Miscommunication in writing, can easily occur because of we cannot hear tone, see body language or even because of cultural differences.
Sometimes verbal communication is the best way to quickly create clarity and consensus and establish next steps and action items.
Confidentiality
Always remember every electronic message leaves a trail, and email is easy to forward.
A basic guideline is to assume that others will see what you write so don’t write anything you wouldn’t want everyone to see.
Training
If you need further training in email or Microsoft teams please discuss with your manager in the first instance, who can discuss with the training team as well if required.

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