Forums

I listened to the e-mail podcast which taught me some very useful points, e.g. state what you are going to say in the first line. However, I want to know more about the format.

Currently my format is like this:
---
Hi Ben: Attached please find the proposal submitted by ABC Company. Please furnish me with your comments. Tks. Tony
---

I prefer this because it is effective (simple, fast to type and read) by skipping "Dear", "best regards". I think it is quite redundent to say "Dear". The meaning is gone if your repeat "Dear" to your boss 10 times a day.

However, I found that almost everyone in my company using a more formal format:
---
Dear Ben,

Attached please find the proposal submitted by ABC Company. Please furnish me with your comments.

Best regards,
Tony
---

Only the CEO uses the same format as mine. You know my worry ... :lol:

Having said that I still prefer using the short one, especially in communication within my team, as long as it does not appear to be impolite or arrogant in any case.

Any suggestion? Any difference in sending e-mail to directs? peers? boss? boss' boss? Other departments? clients?

Is it ok to adopt different formats within the organisation? You know, my boss may wonder why I sent him the short form but e-mail to CEO in formal format. Do I respect him more?

Any suggestion appreciated.

Tks
Tony

RichRuh's picture

Tony--

Although I'd spell out "Thanks", the rest shouldn't matter one bit.

It will be interesting to see what other forum members have to say, especially those with a lower "D" score than mine. :)

--Rich

p.s. I format e-mail exactly like this forum post. I add "Thanks," about 3/4 of the time (always if I'm mailing a client.)

tonys's picture

THANKS Rich for your lighting fast response.

I think you are right. It will largely depend on the DISC score.

Tony

James Gutherson's picture

If I was emailing my team 'd be even briefer.

'John - Please comment of the attached proposal'

(There would be an auto signature)

But that's my hi D (even saying 'John' seems a bit redundant).

The receiver knows who they are - they can see my name in the system(the signature is a coporate policy) - the company concerned is in the attachment.

If it was a peer I would add 'Hi John' and add 'thanks'. If it were my boss or above it would be probably 'Dear John' and spell out more of what I require and a 'thanks'. If it were a client then I would always address it as 'Dear John' spell out my requirements and close with a 'Regards - James...'

Caveat - I do try however to provide a descriptive subject line (The first example to my team would not have any body text) and not include attachments where I can, or spell out my requirements and some context of the attachment in the body of the email. As Mark said, the majority of attachments are never read.

WillDuke's picture

Wow, that's a lot of energy on something that seems pretty minor to me, and I'm not a high D. :)

In general, I try to be polite and respectful. It doesn't take long to spell out words and even add someone's name. That being said, always tailor to your audience. If you are contacting a high D, just BLUF it. If an S, you sometimes need to spend a little extra time. You don't have to ask about their family every time, but every once in a while is nice.

ccleveland's picture

Tony,

I think the point made in the podcast is to make your point in the first, concise sentence.

Many people like to build to a climax by telling a story. Several sentences into the email, they might hint at the main point. This is not good for effective communication.

Don’t get hung up in the semantics of cramming it all in one line after the salutation.

CC

stephenbooth_uk's picture

[quote="ccleveland"]I think the point made in the podcast is to make your point in the first, concise sentence. [/quote]

I haven't listened to the email podcast yet so this is all me (and may be a result of being High-C/Highish-D), ideally I'd say the key point should be in the subject line.

For, a real, example: If the project plan for the FooBar (project name has been changed to protect the guilty) has been approved with a budget of two million pounds and contingency of two hundred and fifty thousand and you need to tell me by email the the subject line should be "APPROVED: FooBar Plan Budget £2M, Contingency £250k", rather than the one that was actually used, "You'll like this" (especially as I had 3 mails with that subject lione in my mailbox at the time, one of the others was a joke and the other was a link to an article about Microsoft messing up again).

Stephen

juliahhavener's picture

I like an identifying subject line. I get five million emails a day that say 'help' (effectively) in the subject line then a rambling diatribe that doesn't tell me what I need to know.

I deal with some routine items that having a standard subject line helps with. ItemZ - NameY - AccountX. I pretty much insist on that from my team. It helps me prioritize what I need to handle and when.

The high I in me says 'start with their name, end with thank you'. My emails tend to look like this:

Leigh,

We've run into a snag with this project. How do you want us to handle this task? As an Order or a Call? Any special format so you'll recognize it?

Thank you,
(auto signature)

My emails to my peers, my reports, and my boss almost invariably look the same. Of course, part of this is company culture. We have one director whose emails look like this:

Mike: Follow up on this.
Julia: Can your team help with this piece?

AB (his initials are his signature almost exclusively)

Letters to clients are rarely in email format, and even if they are they have the more formal addresses, etc. Hard copy is always in a business letter format.

In the end, if it's professional and it gets the job done, it should be fine. I have found that O3s have eliminated my team's concerns when they get an email that is about the subject, only about the subject, and want a reply that is only about the subject. My S's and C's have figured out that it's not a personal indictment, they get their personal time with their O3s and now it's time to work on Julia's tasks.

tonys's picture

[quote="WillDuke"]Wow, that's a lot of energy on something that seems pretty minor to me, and I'm not a high D. :)

In general, I try to be polite and respectful. It doesn't take long to spell out words and even add someone's name. That being said, always tailor to your audience. If you are contacting a high D, just BLUF it. If an S, you sometimes need to spend a little extra time. You don't have to ask about their family every time, but every once in a while is nice.[/quote]

Thanks Will, good suggestion.

I think this is important as you said it was important to show polite and respectful while keeping it effective. And there are limited effort involved in deciding the right format to use. I am going to apply it in my upcoming new job.