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Guide for better e-mail communication

Posted: September 18th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Miscellaneous | 3 Comments »

email cartoonE-mails are very important part of our daily communication. Communication through e-mail is a lot different than voice communication. You might be a very good communicator over phone, however, e-mails are a different genre. E-mail can express your emotions in exactly the same way as phone if written properly. so, It’s one of the most essential skills in corporate world.

I am sharing few points which I have learned in e-mail communication so far.

Take your time to compose e-mail, don’t write in a hurry.
Do a spell check.
Know when to use ‘Reply-all’ and when absolutely not.
Avoid using fancy fonts; stick with basic fonts like Arial/Calibri.
If you are checking your emails after few days then first read all emails and then reply to the e-mail which requires a reply. Do not reply as you read because you might have receive further e-mail for the same communication or someone from the CC list might already have replied.
Read and re-read before replying an e-mail. Have you answered all underlying questions/concerns raised by the sender?
If an attachment is to be sent then compose your email after adding the attachment, followed by adding recipients.
Do not forget the attachment (use attachment reminder script in Outlook or download this software) In Gmail, activate the attachment reminder.
Do a spell check.
Do not reply an email when you are angry. ( Instead do this: compose the email, save it but don’t send it. Read that email again after a while and chances are you will change the e-mail completely or do not send that at all :-).)
Avoid using ‘but’, it’s somewhat negative, instead use ‘however’
Do not use fancy signature with animated images, it distracts and annoys the reader. ( and won’t animate in Outlook 2007 :-) )
Turn the automatic spell check on.
Be precise and to the point, help your e-mail recipient save time.
Ask yourself a question, how much would it take for me to answer this email? less than 2 mins? Reply now.
Do a spell check and grammar check.
Do not use authoritative language in your e-mails even if you are writing to your subordinate. Nobody likes to receive orders. Would you like if you receive such an email? Re-read your email after composing and sense the tone of your e-mail?
Don’t forget the out-of-office Auto reply when you are not reading your e-mails.
Always mention the alternate person who should be contacted in your absence if there is any.
‘Please see the attachment’ is a better phrase then ‘Please finds the attachment’ (if your attachment is not a treasure? :-)).
Do not forget/misspell recipients’ Name. It might turn him/her off.
Avoid using CAPS and bold.
Know when to use Hello/Hi/Dear.
Received an email from an irated customer/client? Empathize him/her in your reply first and then explain your situation.
If you are sending a screen-shot in e-mail then make sure you saved the image as JPG and not BMP in Paint. Sending a BMP image would unnecessarily make your e-mail heavy.
Do not forward those useless e-mails for your pleasure, and block office bandwidth :-).
Be a responsible e-mail forwarder, verify the authenticity of an e-mail forward before being a victim of these forwards.
Have an e-mail signature which has all your required contact information.
In personal e-mails, make an email signature which has links to your website, blog, social networking profile like Orkut/Twitter.
Do a spell check.
Read your email one last time before hitting the send button.

These are few points which I believe would help you in better email communication. What do you practice in your email communication? Do you have any tip? Please do share.


How to build your own brand image

Posted: September 2nd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Miscellaneous | 1 Comment »

It’s an age of marketing. Every company spends a substantial amount of their revenue on marketing. As they say Jo dikhta hai wahi bikta hai. But do you know that you are also a brand? You need to establish a brand value for your name. How you can do that? Recently, I wrote a blog post about switching your job and later I realized that when switching the job there are a lot of things which matter. One of the most important thing is your brand value. How you can be more influential in your interview. How you can be more credible while seeking job. Here are few pointers to build your online brand.

Be Googleable: As they say Google is God and if God doesn’t know you then you are in trouble :-). I will go to extent of saying that in today’s Internet age if you are not in Google search results you do not exist. If your prospect employer searches for you on Google what results appear for your name? Have you ever Googled your name? Go give it a shot and see what are the results for your name?

Get yourself a website: Start your own website. Write about your achievements, aspirations, knowledge and experiences. This will also help you your brand (read you) search engine friendly, you will be googleable. In today’s time it’s doesn’t cost a fortune to get a website. You can get a domain name in Rs. 400/- and hosting starts as low as Rs. 1000/-. To create a website you don’t need to know HTML, there are plenty of free website templates available with which you can create your own website and with CMS like WordPress, you can configure your dynamic website/blog in few clicks.

Bonus Tip: If you want your personalized website, you just need to buy yourself a domain and I can get your website hosted for nominal fee or free.

Get a personalized e-mail: After you have a personalized website then do get a personalized email. mail@yourname.com is far better than yourname_cool_1980@gmail.com. This e-mail address would be easy to remember for others and tells about your brand name. With help of Google apps, you can get as many as 50 e-mail address for your domain for free.

Be visible on forums: Participate in forums of your technology domain. Ask questions, seek advice and share knowledge with others. This would increase your visibility and adds credit to your expertise.

Be Social, join Social Networks: Join social networking sites like Facebook, twitter and most importantly Linkedin. These sites help you connect with like-minded people and expand your network. In terms of visibility, Orkut is not the right social networking site because Orkut profiles are not indexed in Google while Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin profiles do appear in Google results.

Expand your Linkedin Network: Join Linkedin if you haven’t already. You need to expand your network on Linkedin, add your peers, your ex-colleague, colleage’s colleague. Don’t just join Linkedin for the heck of it, be an active member on Linkedin. Give an identity to your profile, add your picture, your accomplishments, and your detailed profile, recommend persons in your network and ask for recommendations and participate in discussions on Linkedin.

E-mail Signature: Don’t waste the real estate of your e-mail signature. Add your Website URL, your Linked profile link in your e-mail signature.

These pointers are about building your online brand, however, apart from this you need to create your brand offline as well. For your offline brand identity, I can suggest that be nice to people, help others and communicate well.

These are the points which I think enhance your brand value. Do you have more suggestions? Please share it with me.