Jennifer Lombardo received both her undergraduate degree and MBA in marketing from Rowan University. She spent ten years in consumer marketing for companies such as Nielsen Marketing Research, The Dial Corporation and Mattel Toys. She is currently an adjunct professor of marketing at Rowan University and a social media marketing consultant.
Colin Comma spent many years working in the Meltaway Chocolate company factory. He just completed his business degree through a rigorous online college program.
This past week, he found out he was being promoted to assistant product manager of the chocolate snack food line. His first week on the job was disastrous due to his lack of knowledge regarding how to write effective emails in the workplace.
His coworkers were confused by his inappropriate tone, lack of subject line information and overall unprofessionalism. Fortunately, his boss quickly pulled Colin aside and realized that his lack of email communication experience could be readily fixed with help from the entire staff. During lunch for the next week, each of Colin's coworkers will be providing him with tips on proper email formality, content, language and format.
Patty Polite was a seasoned veteran of the candy company. She met with Colin on Tuesday to discuss the proper formality, or rules and behaviors, of email communication. Patty explained that there are some basic rules to follow:
- Employees need to think before they write. It is important to not react and send a message without thinking things through. Patty explained that Colin should consider building a draft message, or preliminary message, first. The next step would be to proof the message, making sure it's professional and well thought out.
- Email only those people that are pertinent to the message. Make sure not to over CC and BC, or copy and blind copy. Colin does not want to email the entire company every time.
- Make sure what you email is the truth. Since the boss can read any message, Colin has to understand that anything he puts in an email can come back to hurt him.
Karen Drop was selected to train Colin on content, or subject matter, on Wednesday. She explained to Colin that it is important to have the correct content for an email to be successful.
- Keep the subject/topic only related to work. Colin should not use company email to try and find a date or for other inappropriate matters.
- Censor your messages. Karen explained that they had to fire someone who sent risqué images around the office through emails. Always refrain from sending angry or inappropriate messages.
Thursday's lesson on language, or proper writing structure, was given by Georgia Grammar. She is a former English teacher who now handles the public relations for the candy company. She told Colin that he needed to:
- Use proper grammar and correct spelling. She highly suggested always using a spell checker before sending any message.
- Never type email messages using all capital letters. Georgia explained to Colin that using all capitals would be considered shouting, and the receiver would think that he is being rude.
- Proofread your message before sending it. Always take the time to reread messages to look for any mistakes.
The last lesson of the week was taught by Frieda Formal, who handles etiquette for the company sales team. Her main lesson revolved around the format, or structure of an email. She gave Colin a trick to remember the keys of an email format - CABS, which stands for 'Correct closing statement, Address formally, Brief and Short title in subject line.' These tips would let Colin master the use of email communication.
- Correct closing statement: Frieda suggested that every time Colin writes an email he signs it either: 'sincerely yours,' 'yours truly' or 'thank you,' depending on who he is sending the message to. Additionally, he should have contact information available after his signature, such as his title, phone and extension.
- Address formally: Colin should address the email recipient by 'dear' followed by the correct name. Frieda explained that if Colin is unsure of the name, it is better to use 'To Whom It May Concern.'
- Brief: Frieda said that every email should be brief in length. Colin needs to stick to the major points to ensure that the email will be read and not add email attachments unless the person is expecting to receive them.
- Short title in subject line: The last part of CABS is to make sure that the subject line is short and attention getting. Frieda gave an example: RECORD JANUARY SALES NUMBERS.
Effective workplace communication using email is an important skill to develop before entering the workforce. The key elements of email communication are formality, content, language and format. Formality encompasses the correct rules and behaviors that employees must follow when creating emails. Content is the subject matter of the email that should be professional and work related. Language deals with the proper writing structure.
Lastly, every email should be completed in the correct business format, or structure, and using CABS, which stands for 'Correct closing statement, Address formally, Brief and Short title in subject line.' Following these simple rules will allow employees to communicate effectively and complete tasks easily.
After you've reviewed this video lesson, you will be able to:
- Explain the key elements of effective workplace email communication
- Describe the concept of CABS and its importance in email communication
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