By Jenny Fujita and Joy Miura Koerte, Fujita & Miura Public Relations
Information is moving at the speed of light these days, and while electronic communications methods, such as email, can be quick and convenient business tools, it’s worth it to take the time and care to use them well. Below are a few common examples of email best practices that can give you a PR advantage:
Situation: You send information to someone by email and then wonder if they ever received it because you never heard from them since you pressed “send.” After a week, you forget that you even sent the email because so many things have piled up, until your boss asks you, “What ever happened with that email you sent to so and so?” Gulp.
Lesson: When someone sends you information by email, respond at least with a “mahalo” within 24 hours if possible, so they know that you got their message.
Situation: You receive an email that has been sent to a large group of recipients whose email addresses all appear in the “To” section. You are mortified to see that your ex, who is a stalker, is on the list.
Lesson: If you’re sending email to a group of people, include only your email address in the “To” section and all of the recipients’ email addresses in the “Bcc,” or blind carbon copy, area. That way, everyone’s email address as well as business dealing with you remains private. Also, send the email to 25 recipients or fewer at one time in order to avoid being perceived as spam.
Situation: You receive an email from someone in all lower case letters, with little or improper punctuation, and half the words missing. You strain your eyes and your brain but can barely make out the meaning of the message, and you wonder how the person ever survived this long in the business world.
Lesson: Of course you don’t have to refer to the “Chicago Manual of Style” every time you write an email, but take the same care in writing an email message as you would writing a letter. The recipient will be glad you did, and your work will be done more effectively and efficiently.
Situation: You meet someone new at a meeting and send them an “it was nice to meet you” email afterwards. The next day, you receive no less than 17 chain letters and 101 tips on how to use Coca Cola and dryer sheets to clean your house.
Lesson: Sending out an occasional humorous email to business associates is fine (as long as the humor is appropriate and non-offensive) but never add business associates’ email addresses to your personal email lists, and avoid sending “junk mail” altogether.
Practice these lessons consistently and email will quickly become your PR friend.