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Ten Tips for E-Writing
from E-Writing: 21st-Century Tools for Effective Communication
For a Style Somewhere Between Stuffed-Shirt Writing and T-Shirt Writing: Just
as the business casual dress code has some people stumped, so has the
business causal writing style. Some writers confuse the screen for a t-shirt
Knee-Jerk Responses: E-mail's
greatest benefit can also be its greatest drawback:
speed. We open. We read.
We reply. Then we think-or don't, as the case may be.
You Don't Have Something To Say, Don't Say It: On the street,
when someone you know speaks to you, etiquette requires that you return the
greeting. Not so with e-mail.
It, But Don't Be Chained To It: Instead of being constantly
distracted, let the e-mails pile up and check them only once or twice a day.
The "So What?" Prompt To Turn Information into Communication:
Imagine your reader asking, "So what?"
Then add the answer: Draw
conclusions. State the action you want.
Stream-Of-Consciousness Rambling: Just as the penny is the basis
for our monetary system, the sentence is our basic unit of thought. If your
e-mail wasn't all that interesting to read the first time, imagine forcing
people to slog through it a second time to catch your meaning.
into the Tone of Directives:
Brief is good. Blunt is
Against A Trigger-Happy 'Send' Finger: As a safety measure, don't
enter the recipient's e-mail address until you have the e-mail ready to
go-with all attachments. Then if your trigger finger goes off, your e-mail
is still safely in your hands.
Sure "Anytime, Anywhere" Doesn't Mean "No Time,
Nowhere": Many organizations advertise that they're
available anytime anywhere. But
the reality is that that expectation disappoints all too often.
Email goes unanswered for days and weeks.
When To Phone Instead of Writing E-Mail or Letters: People are typically less guarded when speaking than
writing. Choose according to your purpose.
Wary of Humor or Sarcasm: Comedy
writers earn big bucks. Either
make sure your humor works or don't try it.
Your Liability for Personal E-Mails on Company Systems:
Inexpensive software packages can scan up to 50,000 e-mails an hour
for objectionable words (unfair, performance review, copyright, breast,
resume, angry) and forward those messages to a designated person. Consider
that your e-mail may be retrieved for any number of things that keep people
awake at night.
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